When the Old Testament was actually the New Testament

Have you ever stopped to consider what the Old Testament was called before the New Testament came along? Well, the Bible itself tells us what it was called, and Acts 11 tells us how Paul and Barnabas used the Scripture to teach believers in Antioch…the place in which believers were first called Christians! Be blessed!

"And he left for Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch" (Acts 11:25-26). I find it remarkable that Saul (Paul) and Barnabas spent an entire year teaching these new Gentile believers in Antioch. But stop for a moment and consider: none of the Gospels had been written at this point, nor had the book of Acts (obviously). Paul's epistles hadn't been penned either, nor any of the other letters for that matter; likewise, the book of Revelation. There was no New Testament! So what did the church study for an entire year? The text does not say, but the answer is obvious. They studied the Greek "Old Testament," which for the early church, HAD TO BE ABOUT JESUS or the church would never have been born! The "New Testament" church was in fact the "New Testament" church before the "New Testament" existed. Their "New Testament" was the "Old Testament." But they didn't call it the "Old Testament," they called it the "Scripture" (see Matt 21:42; 22:29; 26:54, 56; Mark 12:10, 24; 14:49; Luke 4:21; 24:27, 32, 45; John 2:22; 5:39; 7:38, 42; 10:35; 13:18; 17:12; 19:24, 28, 36-37; 20:9; Acts 1:16; 8:32, 35; 17:2, 11; 18:24, 28; Rom 1:2; 4:3; 9:17; 10:11; 11:2; 15:4; 16:26; 1 Cor 15:3-4; Gal 3:8, 22; 4:30; 1 Tim 5:18; 2 Tim 3:16; James 2:8, 23; 4:5; 1 Pet 2:6; 2 Pet 1:20; 3:16). And perhaps when the church today reclaims this biblical, and far more appropriate title for this book, it may start studying it just as seriously as the early church as well! "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17).

What did you learn about God’s Word?

Praise God for Paul and Barnabas who invested their lives in those believers in Antioch, for without them, perhaps the Word of God would never have spread.

God is faithful…and that is the theme of our Israel tour. I hope you will follow along with us. We’re sending back updates via this blog, so stay tuned!

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