People come into contact with the Bible in a number of ways. They hear it from someone, or read a bit of it or see the amazing effect of it in someone else's life.

As a result they receive Christ and are born again and understanding the Bible is crucial to growing in Christ. That has to begin somewhere and the best place to start is the Gospel of John chapter 1. After that simply become familiar with the New Testament. 

But, later, when branching out from the New Testament to the Old, how should we read the Old Testament when the time comes?

It is at this point that it's important to understand the relationship they have to each other.


When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost He brought the ability for Believers to understand the Old and New Testaments more fully.

As was said earlier, the letter to the Hebrew Believers (chapter 1, verse 1) points out that, in the Old, God spoke only to Israel by the Prophets. But "in these last days" He has spoken exclusively to us (Hebrew Believers and Gentile Believers) by His Son.

So what about the difference between the testaments, and how should we relate to them? One way to help clarify basic difference is the idea of FOR and TO: "For" is to possess and to hold, and "To" is to obey

1. The Old Testament carried the revelation of God for Israel. It was for them to possess and to them to obey.

(However, it is also for Believers to possess but it is not to them to obey. More on that later.)

2. The New Testament carries the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. It is for Believers to possess and to them to obey.

This is a very important distinction which became clear when the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. He inspired Peter to lead the Apostles, so he began preaching and teaching the Good News of Jesus the Messiah and His New Covenant Kingdom of God to the Jews.

Many Jews received Christ and went on to receive the Apostles' teachings and began to grow in Christ.

As time went on the New Covenant Kingdom teachings emerged in writing. The majority are found in the scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22 and some in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Christ's New Covenant, then, is different to the Old. And the difference is profound. Firstly, the apostle Paul writes that the Old Covenant was "Glorious". But the New Covenant is "More Glorious". Here's what he says:

"But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory.
For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious," 2 Corinthians 3'7-11.

So from these words the Old Covenant was:

"the ministry of death"  


"the ministry of condemnation"

"had glory"

"is passing away".

And the New Covenant is:

"the ministry of the Spirit 

"more glorious"

the "ministry of righteousness" 

"much more glorious"

That's profound difference. And that difference is what Christ's New Covenant Kingdom word is all about. All Disciples can possess it, know it, hear it, do it and grow by it.

Peter describes how big this spiritual New Covenant difference is to all Believers:

"Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ. To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," Peter 2:1'2-3.

What wonderful words! And among them is the wonderful understanding that "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness". His divine power is the Holy Spirit. And His presence in a Believer's life is the big difference.

While the Old Testament is indispensable, it cannot minister life and godliness. They come only through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.


The Old Testament presents the great truths of creation, history (of man, of the world, of Israel), prophecy, typology and wonderful examples of the people of faith.

But above all those things, the Old Testament foreshadows Christ and His New Covenant Kingdom. Together, the Old and New Testaments are the "whole counsel of God".