Today I would like to blog on a purely Christian topic – the New and Old Testament, and a point of view, which has made me think.
The Old Testament (OT) is sometimes referred to as the “Book of the Old Covenant”. This is the old, original covenant of God with men. The union between the chosen people (the Jews) and God.
The New Testament (NT) is sometimes called “Book of the New Covenant”. The new, love-based covenant founded by Jesus.
Thus considered, the OT addresses the Jews as the chosen people, and the NT addresses us to Christians.
So far so good. And with that, everything should be said.
But why do many Christians consider the Old Testament as part of “their” Bible and Christianity?
Theologians speak of the fact that the two books supplement each other and, for example, the NT concludes the OT (Jesus is finally a Jew). And that the OT is preparing the NT.
In many parts of the OT, it is not about love but about revenge and atonement, about plagues and war – even in the name of God. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21: 23-25) is certainly one of the most frequently quoted words of the Old Testament.
In the New Testament the message of Jesus Christ is spread: the message of charity and that of the loving God. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5.14).
Here the two books contradict each other.
And so fundamentally that no one can claim for himself, both books are valid for him. Or that he is guided by both books. That will not work. I can not, on the one hand, believe in the avenging God, who will allow me to fight for my faith and, on the other, to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of pure love. That will not work.
Love does not fight. Never.
And yet many Christians explain that the Old Testament is as important to them as the New Testament.
Just imagine the following story:
A man is married in a second marriage with a woman.
This second wife finds one day in the attic old letters of her husband.
They are love letters from him to his first wife. She is curious and would like to read these letters.
But the woman is doubtful:
May I read these letters? Or do the letters belong to the privacy of their husband and his first wife?
After a short thought she decides she is allowed to read the letters, after all, he (her husband) belongs to her.
She reads in the letters and reads husband explaining his love to his first wife.
As he writes to his first wife that she is the only one for him and he will never love a woman like her.
And how he plans a happy future with her.
The woman becomes more and more jealous with every letter. And their doubts become greater:
What should she do now? Should she jealously look at the first woman and become angry at her husband?
At this moment, you get an idea:
What if I did as if he had written the letters to me?
As if these letters were current letters and as if the first woman had never existed?
Think about it for you: How would you decide in the place of the woman?
Would you have read the letters?
And would you consider the letters as if they were love letters to you?
Do you (as a Christian) consider the Old Testament , that old love letters of God to the Jews as if they were letters to you (the Christian)?
If you, as the woman, had not read the letters, or if you had read them, but you would never consider them as love letters to you, why do you consider the Old Testament as something for you that is valid for you?
Or do you apply double standards and think, that this is not comparable?
For myself, I decided that I read the old love letters (the Old Testament) and can not change this. However, I do not regard these love letters as letters addressed to me. Instead, I read the new letters, which were written to me as Christians: the New Testament.
And I know there are things in the old letters that contradict the new letters. And that it would not help me if I tried to appreciate both the old and the new letters alike.
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)