“When we preach or teach the Scriptures, we open the door for the Holy Spirit to do His work,” Billy Graham often said. “God has not promised to bless oratory or clever preaching. He has promised to bless His Word, regardless of the culture.”
Where does God make that promise?
In His Word, of course.
Isaiah 55:11: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Ephesians 1:13: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Yet, there are preachers today – notable ones indeed – suggesting some of the Word is outdated, unworthy of our focus, not essential to the foundation of our faith.
When the pastor of one of the largest evangelical churches in America suggests it’s time to stop paying attention to the Old Testament, representing three-quarters of the Bible’s content, it’s contrary not only to the original Scriptures, but the newer ones, too.
We deemphasize the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures at our own peril.
Consider these Old Testament verses some pastors claim are unworthy of serious study:
- Deuteronomy 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
- Deuteronomy 8:3: “[M]an doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”
- Deuteronomy 12:28: “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God.”
- Psalm 105:8 “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.”
- Psalm 119:89: “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”
- Psalm 119:160: “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
Now let’s examine what the New Testament Greek Scriptures has to say:
- John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- John 14:24 “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”
- Acts 17:11: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
- Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
- 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
- 1 John 2:7: “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.”
It’s worth noting that when these words were spoken or written, the only published Word of God was the “Old Testament.” Those words were not considered outdated or irrelevant then – why would they be now?
Scripture – all Scripture – is equally valid. The New Testament cannot be readily understood without the context – without knowing God’s character, which is what we get in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Word – all of the Word – shall not return void.
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