In Second Timothy 3:16-17 we read that “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” It is important for Christians to remember this statement, this truth, for there was a time in Christendom when the New Testament simply did not exist. Indeed, even when the New Testament was consolidated, it took hundreds and hundreds of years of the scripture to become available to the general populace, for the Catholic Church required and kept strict control over it.
But we read above, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” meaning that ALL scripture, both the Old and the New Testaments, are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.”
For those Christians who mistakenly believe that the Old Testament has nothing for them and who by choice never read it, please be clear: this is not a biblical viewpoint.
In the very early times of Christendom, when the Books of the New Testament were not even written, and the Acts of the Apostles was being played out, we find the Holy Spirit illuminating the minds of the Apostles and the early Church with passages of scripture from the Old Testament, the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism (the Jewish bibles count 24 books, but Christian bibles divide Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah and the Minor Prophets, bringing the total to 39). This makes perfect sense, because all of the Apostles were Hebrews and all were familiar with these books (scrolls) and all showed the same reverence and respect to the texts, as did Jesus.
Let us now look at a few key of examples where the Holy Spirit supported the words and works of Jesus from the Jewish texts of that day.
In his support to prove that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, just as had been predicted, we find Paul quoting the Jewish texts in Acts 13:32-35
“And we preach the gospel to you, the promise made to the fathers, this God has fulfilled to us their children, raising up Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.”
And that He raised Him up from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He spoke in this way: “I will give you the holy promises of David.”
Therefore he also says in another psalm, “You shall not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
The three Old Testament verses which Paul quoted and used are these:
Psalm 2:7“I will declare the decree of Jehovah. He has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You.“
Isaiah 55:3“Bow down your ear, and come to Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
Psalm 16:10“For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.“
While Paul used Old Testament scriptures to confirm and prove the New, and God’s raising of Jesus from the dead, God also provided Old Testament texts for the New Testament Christians as guides to their ministry and even their administration. Thus when, after Judas had betrayed Jesus and taken his own life, a vacancy in the twelve had to be filled: or did it? The story is recorded in Acts 1:15-22
“And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said, (the number of names together was about a hundred and twenty,) Men, brothers, this Scripture must have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who became guide to those who seized Jesus. For he was numbered with us and had obtained part of this ministry.
Indeed, then, this one purchased a field with the reward of unrighteousness. And falling headlong, he burst apart in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem, so much so that that field is called in their own dialect, Akeldama, that is to say, Field of Blood.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “Let his estate become forsaken, and he not be living in it.” And, “Let another take his overseership.” Therefore, it is right that one of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that same day that He was taken up from us, to become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
The two Old Testament scriptural passages which the Holy Spirit gave Peter were:
Psalm 69:25“Let their dwelling be wasted; let none dwell in their tents …”
Psalm 109:8“Let his days be few; let another take his office.”
As we understand of the Jewish nation at the time of Jesus, most children received some education in the Hebrew texts, but given that Peter was a fisherman, we can understand he was not trained and not accustomed to stand up in public and speak theology to 120 others, let alone quote scripture with confidence. It was the leading of the Holy Spirit which allowed him to speak.
Similarly, we read in Acts 2:14-25 the record of the visitation and falling of the Holy Spirit as wind and fire on all 120+ who were in the Upper Room. Here, by the power of Holy Spirit, Peter was able to explain what was happening – and what has just happened:
“But Peter, standing up with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and said to them, Men, Jews, and all who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. For these are not drunk as you suppose, for it is the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And in those days I will pour out My Spirit upon My slaves and My slave women, and they shall prophesy. And I will give wonders in the heaven above, and miracles on the earth below, blood and fire and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and glorious Day of the Lord. And it shall be that everyone who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Men, Israelites, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by powerful works, and wonders and miracles, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know, this One given to you by the before-determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken and by lawless hands, crucifying Him, you put Him to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
For David speaks concerning Him, “I foresaw the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue was glad; and also My flesh shall rest in hope, because You will not leave My soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your holy One to see corruption. You revealed to Me the ways of life. You will fill Me with joy with Your countenance.”
The two scriptural passages which Peter quoted at length above, are:
Joel 2:28-32“And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions. And also I will pour out My Spirit on the slaves and on the slave women in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah. And it shall be, whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be saved; for salvation shall be in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as Jehovah has said, and in the remnant whom Jehovah shall call.”
Psalm 16:8-11“I have set Jehovah always before Me; because He is at My right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoices; My flesh also shall rest in hope; For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will make Me know the way of life; in Your presence is fullness of joys. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Now Peter is no longer standing before a crowd of 120+ believers, but in front of a public throng who are jeering them and accusing them of being drunk. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit is able to stand and defend Jesus and the ministry of Jesus and support it and explain it through the Old Testament scripture.
Can we find Proof of the New, in the Old? Yes, and this fact is amply demonstrated above. All scripture is God-breathed, and all scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.