Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:35-37)
The Old And The New Are Necessary
For nearly two thousand years, the Bible has been the collection of God’s word to all humanity. No book has been written or any book that can be inscribed that will match the glory and grandeur of the book of books. Sixty-six books complete the picture of the Bible for modern man beginning with the books of Moses describing the beginning of all things to the revelation of John describing the beginning of all things eternal. Thirty-nine books fall under the heading of the Old Testament summarizing the history of the children of Abraham until four hundred years before Christ. Following the famine of words from the Lord, Jesus Christ is revealed through the gospels and His kingdom exalted in the remaining books of the New Testament. Not all the books written or inspired by the Holy Spirit are contained in the Bible but those included in the final canon of God’s will are written so that every soul can believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
It is easy to discount the importance of the Old Testament as a mere book of history. Much of what people understand about the Bible comes from a study of the New Testament. To learn about Jesus the student would begin with the four gospels. Through the epistles, the nature of Christ and His church are unfolded for the world to see God’s eternal purpose. Doctrines are established from the New Testament and guidelines are given on how to worship. Quoted most often the New Testament is the canon of faith for the Christian. However, something is missing in the story of Jesus if the Old Testament is ignored. If the Old Testament was not an invaluable source of wisdom for all men to know, God would not have included it in His final message of the gospel. The reason the Old Testament is included is that the New Testament cannot be understood without the Old and the Old Testament cannot be understood without the New.
Philip had a challenging task assigned to him by an angel of the Lord. He had been instructed to find a man toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. Obeying the instructions of the divine messenger, Philip found an official of the Ethiopian court sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah. Inquiring if he may assist the man in his understanding, Philip began from the passage the Ethiopian was reading and for the modern man did a remarkable thing. He preached Jesus. The passage was what is commonly referred to today as the fifty-third division of Isaiah at the seventh verse (scriptures were not divided into chapters and verses at the time of Philip and the Ethiopian).
Beginning in Isaiah, Philip opened the mind of the Ethiopian to see that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Luke does not record the words of the teaching of Philip but the reaction of the Ethiopian tells a great story. The man from Ethiopia responded to the teaching of Philip by asking to be baptized in water. There is a distinctive bridge between the message of the Old Testament and the message of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. It is possible to begin at Isaiah 53:7 and preach Jesus to a man who understands only the writings of the Old Testament and this same man will conclude that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that salvation is found in water baptism. Incredible. That is the power of the Old Testament. It leads the way for honest men to find Christ and obey His word.
All men are blessed today to have a completed revelation of God’s word. Everything a man needs to know for salvation is contained within the pages of Genesis to the Revelation. All truth has been once delivered. There will be no more revelations and no more books written. The Bible is a book of books contained in one book to reveal the one Christ who is the one way, the one truth, and the one life. Jesus fills the Old Testament as much as He fills the New Testament. It takes more digging to find the divine gems in the Old Testament but Jesus is there. Take the time to learn the message of salvation found in Christ written across the span of the Old Testament history and the New Testament will gleam even brighter. The Old Testament and the New Testament are necessary. They teach Jesus Christ.