Roots of Our Faith As Christians, why do we need the Old Testament when we have the New Testament? This is a question often asked in modern day Christianity. This is also the question which seems to provoke the writing of The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith, by Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier. The Achtemeiers point out in their book that in modern day thinking we view God as a loving father (pg. 1-2), rather than the God of the Old Testament who seems to act in jealousy over his own power with the destruction of everything. So why then do we read the Old Testament? The final reason is “We cant understand the nature of Christians unless we understand Israel.”(pg.5) according to the Achtemeiers, and Israel as pointed out throughout the book is the root of all Christianity today.
The main purpose behind this book is to provide us with a rope which connects us and our New Testament thinking to the Old Testament. The single main theme that conveys this thinking is that throughout all God has k! ept his word with mercy and love. Achtemeier shows us this link by basically giving us an entire overview of the Old Testament in a form which ties to the coming of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. We can believe Gods link to Jesus Christ and the world today, by the point, through everything God has gone through he has remained true to his word or covenants. Gods greatest creation, man, rebelling against his own authority has been the cause for most of the problems in the Old Testament. In started with Adam and Eve wanting to be like God themselves which led them to sin and continued on to Israel where sin was evident everywhere.
In Israel, David, although chosen as the anointed one or messiah, committed adultery and murder, yet Gods mercy and forgiveness stepped in. Israel as a whole was given the ten commandments to abide by, yet they couldnt. Despite many prophet writings that the end of Israel would come, God instead gave salvation to them through a new spirit and heart in the form of Jesus Chri! st according to the Achtemeiers. The book is organized primarily as the bible is organized with certain points, when needed, taken from other passages in both the New and Old Testament. The way it is ordered makes the book almost read like a story on a timeline through each book of the bible, in telling us what God has gone through for us to believe in his faith.
Certain times in the book the Achtemeiers put in what seem like their own beliefs about particular parts which throw the reader off a bit. For example when they arrive at the time of David being the King in Israel, they seem to believe that David wasnt the right choice to be the Messiah or wasnt the chosen one at all. They back this point up by saying, “Yahweh seems often curiously absent from the history of Israels greatest king.” (pg. 77) The Achtemeiers are clear throughout the book proving that God has always been true to his word and that is why we were given Jesus. An example is when the judging of Israel comes, they show us that God ra! ther than destroying Israel for being full of corruption, gives them a new heart and spirit, which falls in line with his covenant with Israel. I completely agree with the Achtemeiers feelings, after reading this book, that Jesus “is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Story.” This book has been extremely helpful to me since in the past Ive studied the Old Testament as all separate pieces with no real logical answer to any question.
Before reading this I too felt that the Old Testament seemed to be more so a collection of stories that give us a basic moral understanding of how God thinks we should all act. While I dont feel that I understand the New Testament better, I do feel that I understand the roots of it better, like where and why it came about. By knowing the roots of it better, I feel in the future while studying the New Testament I will have more of a grasp of what Paul, Peter, or Luke says means in the whole big scheme of things, but not necessarily in their individual meaning.