When you think of the Old Testament, what comes to your mind? Are your thoughts centered on warfare, the nation of Israel, or famous figures like David and Abraham?

Dr. Preston Sprinkle suggests that Christians should turn their attention away from the events and figures of the Old Testament and instead focus on the God who orchestrates everything behind the scenes.

According to Dr. Sprinkle, there are two ways to study the Old Testament; the moral approach and the theological approach.

Moral approach

The moral approach focuses its attention on the traditional heroes of the faith. Figures like David and Abraham that we look up to and emulate because of their positive attributes and courageous actions.

Preston explains how he sees this approach being used extensively in today’s world,

“We tend to elevate characters in the Bible such as Noah, Samson, and David for their good attributes. We see so many Bible studies focusing on Bible figures. The Old Testament doesn’t do this; it elevates God not the people.”

Theological approach

The second approach to studying the Old Testament is the theological approach. It seeks to study what the Old Testament says about God himself, not exclusively focusing on the well-known Biblical figures.

Dr. Sprinkle believes that this theological approach of focusing on God in the study of the Old Testament is the primary way we should seek to understand.

“He (God) is the main character, the main point, the apex of every single story.”

We are pre-programmed to put the emphasis on different human figures in the Old Testament, which Preston says could eventually lead to disaster,

“If we emulate some of these characters like Jacob or David we’ll end up in prison because in many ways they were very messed up people.”

Emulating characters in the Bible can only go so far because they are imperfect beings just like us.

Dr. Sprinkle reminds us it’s because “God is God and we’re not” that He can use these seemingly unusable people to glorify Himself.

Next time you read the Old Testament, consider these insights from Dr. Sprinkle, and seek first to focus on what the Scripture is saying about God, the author of all creation.

Key Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Highlight : Two approaches to the Old Testament

Grace in the days before Christ

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