Summit speaker Sean McDowell offers a few thoughts on the Old Testament after reading Dennis Prager’s The Rational Bible. Prager and McDowell seem to agree that there are a many characteristics of the Torah that show its originality, reliability, and divine origin. These characteristics include new theological ideas such as a universal God (as opposed to the local deities of individual people groups), a God who is moral and beyond nature, and universal human value.
Additionally, there are a lot of embarrassing details about the Jews that we wouldn’t expect to see if they were trying to fabricate a story, so we have good reason to believe that they were reporting real history. A similar line of evidence is often used in support of the Gospels, which are packed full of embarrassing details about the disciples.
As Christians, we spend a lot of time studying the New Testament. This is perfectly understandable, considering this is where we learn the life story and teachings of Jesus. However, the Old Testament plays a major role in setting the scene for Jesus and his teachings, so we shouldn’t leave it out of our historical and theological studies. In fact, there are many New Testament passages that can only be fully understood if we first understand their Old Testament background, especially when attempting to understand Jesus’ divinity claims or prophecy fulfillments.
“…these points should be enough to portray [the Torah’s] unique and world-changing status. Along with the Gospels, there are no other books that have so radically changed the world’s perception of God.”