The first thing you notice when you open a Bible and read its title page: The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments.
When you turn the page(s) from there, you then find a table of contents. You immediately see the Bible is divided into two parts.
The two sections are called testaments. The Bible is a book of two testaments. A testament is equivalent to a will. You are familiar with the document a person prepares in the event of their death (Hebrews 9:15, 16). That document is referred to as a will. It often begins:
The last will and testament of….
The language is familiar to those who have lost a loved one.
The document expressing the will of the deceased is a testament of that person’s desires. It is a solemn writing declaring the will as to the disposal of that person’s estate and effects upon their death.
So too is the Bible.
The Bible is the will of God preserved in writing. It preserves the conditions for individuals to learn how to receive their part in God’s inheritance.
The fact that there are two testaments ought to alert the Bible reader. It implies God altered and updated the conditions of His original “will”. The original conditions as to how to inherit in His possessions no longer applies. The conditions have been replaced or altered.
It is not unusual for a person to adjust their will. Once a will is adjusted, the new version is the only one legally binding. The previous will is still a testimony of the deceased’s desires. Sometimes individuals are prompted to adjust their will.
But does that mean the Old Testament is irrelevant?
The Old Testament is sometimes referred to as LAW and the New Testament as GRACE. There can be no grace without law. Law teaches us why we cannot earn eternal life. Grace enables us to receive eternal life (Galatians 3:24, 25).
The Old Testament tells us how God thinks. The New Testament tells us how we should act. Our behaviour is to please God. God of the Old Testament has not changed. But they way to receive inheritance in the Kingdom has (Hebrews 7:19).
We can look back to the work of Jesus Christ and be baptised into his death, burial, and resurrection. Old Testament saints did not have that privilege (Hebrews 7:22).
The analogy between a human will and God’s will may not be perfect, but it is helpful to someone new to the Bible. As you read, realize the expectations under the Old Testament are different from those under the New Testament. You no longer must sacrifice animals for blood to cover your sins. The blood of Jesus was shed once for all to remove your sins.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.John 20:31
The Law is important and in the next post we will learn how it helps to identify universal principles.