Can A Person Get Saved Reading the Old Testament?

reading-bibleI certainly teach that the whole Bible is about Jesus.  The Bible, on the whole, is the story of how a holy God relates to a sinful and fallen people.  Jesus is at the center of that story.  You’ve heard all this before.

The question I heard raised this morning is “Can a person get saved only reading the Old Testament?”  II Timothy 3 tells us that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God.  Obviously the New Testament is God-given, and we need to read and study it.  If the Old Testament was sufficient, why would God give us another?  But still, if the gospel is all over the Bible, is there enough there to lead a person to Christ?  And I say, yes it is possible. 

When the Ethiopian eunuch  was reading Isaiah, Philip took those passages and preached Jesus Christ.  Isaiah 53 is a vivid depiction of the crucifixion.  Reading of the crucifixion is not enough, however, and Philip had to explain that this prophesy had come to pass.  Christ was not only dead and buried, but also resurrected.  Philip used Isaiah to tell the good news of Jesus; we read about Jesus in the New Testament.

The Lord’s supper can be seen in the Passover story.  Jesus said he must be “lifted up” as the brass serpent was lifted up by Moses.  The whole temple system, (the building, the veil, the priest, the sacrifice, the Holy of Holies) is all about Jesus.  But all of these are symbols; they’re all pictures of what was to come.   To be the gospel, they require explanation.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac, but then offered the ram instead.  Without explanation from a New Testament point of view, this is  just a terrifying account of a guy that almost chopped up his son on an alter.  The Holy Spirit brought Philip to the Ethiopian Eunuch that day in order to open his eyes to the saving work of Jesus Christ.  I could use Old Testament passages to explain how to receive Christ, but I do not believe you could read only O.T. enough times to do it with no knowledge whatsoever of the N.T. Gospels.

So the answer to the original question becomes “Yes, but…”

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3 thoughts on “Can A Person Get Saved Reading the Old Testament?

  1. Interesting question. Definitely a “yes, but…” answer. You could definitely start with the OT, but without Christ the OT is left at a cliffhanger. People are waiting for a Messiah. Good post.

  2. The purpose of the Old Testament was to point people to Jesus. If a person reading the Old Testament comes to realize that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Law and the Prophets, then he will be lead to faith in Jesus. It will also lead him to study the life and teachings of Jesus so he can know more about the Lord foretold in the Old Testament.

    The New Testament likewise points us back to Jesus. The Gospels tell about His life and teachings. Acts tells about the early church. The epistles are merely commentaries on the life and teachings of Jesus and Revelation gives a glimpse of the big picture of the war between God and Satan. (God wins!)

    If you would like to learn more about Jesus, I would like to recommend Getting To Know Jesus. This is a complete non-denominational Bible study of every event in the life of Christ. Go to http://www.gettingtoknowjesus.org for more information.

  3. The Getting to Know Jesus people are sort of fishing for free ad space by leaving blog comments. There is a cost involved if you wish to order their material.

    However, I’ve check out the website linked, and it seems like a decent study. I agree that many people, Christians included, don’t really know and understand Jesus the way they think they do. Here’s a description of what is offered:

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