Which Is Better, Old Testament Or New?


If I were a betting woman and ran an official poll as the fine folks at Gallup do, I would put my money on the New Testament as the choice of most people in answer to the question, which is better, Old Testament or New? Of course, that would simply be people’s opinions, but I think they’d have solid evidence to back up their support for the New Testament.

After all, which testament, if any, has red font, indicating Jesus’s exact words? New, of course. From which testament do pastors most often draw their sermon text? I suspect that would be New also. Which testament has the most quoted verses? Being that John 3:16 is in the New, that one’s not even close.

The problem with all this evidence, however, is that it isn’t consistent with the only source that really matters–the Bible itself.

Jesus made a pretty clear statement about the importance of the Old Testament, but even more so, the inter-working of both Old and New Testaments:

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47)

How much plainer could Jesus be–what God said through Moses revealed the Messiah, but if someone doesn’t believe that revelation, how can he believe in the things the Messiah says?

It’s such a relevant question for today in light of the professing Christians who want to divorce Jesus from that “wrathful, vengeful God of the Old Testament.” But how can they? The Old Testament speaks of Jesus, and Jesus reveals the Father–that would be the same “wrathful, vengeful God of the Old Testament.”

Yes, indeed, Jesus spoke of God’s wrath:

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)

He also spoke of God’s vengeance, or act of meting out just punishment:

“Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.” (Luke 18:7-8a)

I don’t think I need to belabor the point. Jesus isn’t the kinder, gentler version of God. In fact, He doesn’t in any way contradict God’s character or purpose or work. Rather, “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” (Col. 2:9)

2 Thessalonians makes it clear that God the Father and Jesus are working in concert when it comes to vengeance:

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (1:6-8, emphasis mine)

So what’s the answer–New Testament or Old? It was a trick question. Neither is more important or better in any sense. The Old shows Jesus promised, the New shows Him as the promise fulfilled. In tandem they tell of God’s work, person, and plan. Without the Old, the New would be like one hand clapping, and without the New, the Old would be the other hand clapping. Together they create the complete picture of God and His redemptive work on behalf of sinful man.

So which testament is better? Both together.

Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm  Comments (2)  
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