A few months ago a famous, extremely influential megachurch pastor preached a sermon in which he said Christians needed to “unhitch from the Old Testament.” He’s been roundly criticized by people all over the world, including quite a few in the Church of Christ. Though most of us wouldn’t say what he said out loud, we might’ve thought it. The Old Testament, to put it bluntly, makes us uncomfortable. Bad things happen, sometimes with God’s approval, it seems, and at other times when he just seems to look the other way. In some ways we might be tempted to “unhitch” ourselves from the first testament; it would help us avoid some of the thorny problems of rampant bloodshed and unthinkable immorality.
But Jesus doesn’t give us that option. In our text for Sunday morning, Paul points to a couple of examples in the Old Testament, and he doesn’t seem embarrassed in the slightest. Instead of making excuses or apologies for what happened there, he tells the church in Corinth that they’d do well to read the Old Testament more carefully, not less. In fact, the Old Testament was the Bible Jesus read, and it was the one used by Peter, Paul, James, and John as well. In fact, the 66-book Bible as we know it was quite a ways off throughout the years of the early church.
What does this mean? What do we do with the Old Testament? These are questions we’ll wrestle with Sunday morning. Truth be told, the first 3/4 of our Bible tells us things we dare not miss . . . things about the nature of God and how he relates to his creation. It was, as Paul put it, “written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”