Preaching from the Old Testament

While preparing for my most recent sermon from 2 Chronicles 32:31, I was asked by my wife what the text would be. When I told her, she asked me a question I’d been asked before, “Why do you preach so much from the Old Testament?”

Good question. I can think of a few reasons.

First, men called of God to preach have been called to proclaim the full, complete or whole counsel, of God’s revelation in His Son, Jesus Christ. You cannot do that if you preach and teach only from the New Testament. 

Secondly, if you think about it, apart from the New Testament, well, the Old Testament is the most important part of the Bible! It contains the purpose and counsel of God to mankind, as does the New. However, if one preaches continually, or even mostly, from the New Testament, then some of God’s counsel is being neglected and thus the people are not benefitting from it.

Thirdly, the Old Testament is far less read and understood than the New. For this reason, there is great benefit to the congregation to learn more of it, historically of course, but more importantly, for the spiritual instruction towards godliness.

Lastly, I have a difficult time seeing how any believer could fully appreciate the truths of, and the fulfillment of prophecy found in, the New Testament without good familiarity with the Old. That’s one of the reasons I object to today’s popularity of Sunday after Sunday of “gospel-centered” NT-mostly preaching. The people are being kept in spiritual diapers because of this silliness. I would go even further and say they are being robbed of God’s whole counsel by the ignoring of Old Testament study.

I do not preach mostly from the Old Testament, but I will admit I have a great fondness for it, and what is discovered there makes the New Testament even more precious than if neglected. When preaching from the Old, I will always (most of the time) tie the passage and it’s application with corresponding teaching from the New, if for no other reason to demonstrate the eternality and continuity of biblical principles, precepts and instruction throughout Scripture.

Yes, it can be a challenge to find a balance, but the effort of the church leader is required if the people are to be blessed with God’s whole counsel – and not kept in spiritual diapers for the sake of popular desires.