Adam and Eve. The Garden of Eden. Noah’s Ark. Father Abraham and his many sons. Joseph and his coat of many colours. Moses, the great escape from Egypt and the Ten Commandments. Samson and Delilah. David and Goliath. Daniel in the Lion’s Den. These are stories which have been told and retold for generations and are now woven into our culture. And they are all found in the Old Testament of the Bible.
The Old Testament forms the largest part of the Bible. It was written by many different authors over a period of about 1000 years and is a sacred text in Judaism as well as Christianity. For both, it tells of the special covenant (promise) made by God to Abraham, father to the people of Israel, to bless his descendants and be their God. They in turn would be a light to the nations, showing people what a life lived honouring God and each other looked like.
Its 66 books contain many famous stories, like those listed above, and much more: laws, poetry, wisdom and prophecies. It is both a literary treasure trove and a lesson in how to get things right and wrong when trying to live for God. It is the sacred text that Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, knew well and taught from when he spoke in synagogues. For Christians it is also a signpost to the coming of Jesus. A recurring theme in the books of prophecy is how God will come to save his people. Christians see this fulfilled in the accounts of Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection, written about in the New Testament.
In this section you can find out more about some of the stories found in the Old Testament and why, despite its age, it is still considered to be relevant to Christians today. For more information on the structure of the Bible as a whole, and the relationship between Old and New Testaments, please browse our articles in the ‘Introduction to the Bible’ section.Bookmark