Step Three for Easier Bible Reading: Discover Jesus in the Old Testament
By Stephanie Hillberry
When I was younger, I decided to read through the whole Bible in a year. I remember being excited to start...but also nervous, mainly because I was intimidated by the Old Testament.
Getting through it seemed like a daunting assignment. I struggled to see the connection between my life and what felt like a jumbled history lesson focused on an ancient people and a frequently disappointed God.
I know I'm not the only person to feel this way about the Old Testament. A lot of Christians avoid reading it, sticking to the stories of Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament instead. I get it! The Old Testament is challenging.
But I wish I'd known then what I know now, which is that when we skip over the Old Testament, we miss out on Jesus' epic story that starts in Genesis. When we decide to look closely for his story, we’re amazed to find it in unexpected places, and we’re encouraged when suddenly these old characters and timeliness become relatable and real for our lives.
In fact, the Old Testament even becomes fun.
Here are two ways to find Jesus’ story in the Old Testament and watch it come alive:
1. Use cross-references
One way to spot Jesus in the Old Testament is to use cross-references, which are notations that link the Old and New Testament verses together. Many study Bibles provide cross-references, and references are also available online.
To use a cross-reference, choose a section of the New Testament and then look for the Old Testament verses that are linked to what you're reading. Flip to the Old Testament verses and read them alongside the New Testament verses, asking the Holy Spirit to show you how they're both connected to Jesus, and what you can learn about God's heart through them.
2. Use the blue letters from the Jesus-Centered Bible
Alternatively, if you're intimidated by the rigor of using cross-references, another option is to use the blue letter texts available in the Jesus-Centered Bible.
These unique blue letters highlight almost 700 references to Jesus throughout the Old Testament, and include notes that further describe the connection to Jesus.
With these blue letters, Jesus jumps off the page, so you get an unforgettable experience of the breadth and depth of him in all of Scripture. This is a perfect way to see and understand God as he’s described in the Old Testament.
Whether you choose blue letters or cross-references, you'll find that the Old Testament can be surprisingly rich and applicable to your life. You’ll even start wanting to read it.
And you’ll discover a growing conviction in your soul that all of life, and all of God's messages to his people, orbit around the redemptive presence of one central person: Jesus.
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