Old testament why do we use it
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Old Testament Why do we use it?. It’s Old and has all of the most controversial beliefs. Testament?. Testament is the Latin translation for Covenant-God’s actions with humanity Torah is the acronym for The Law, the Prophets and the Writings in Hebrew Protestant and Jewish Canons are 39 books

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Old Testament Why do we use it?

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Old testament why do we use it

Old TestamentWhy do we use it?

It’s Old and has all of the most controversial beliefs



  • Testament is the Latin translation for Covenant-God’s actions with humanity

  • Torah is the acronym for The Law, the Prophets and the Writings in Hebrew

  • Protestant and Jewish Canons are 39 books

  • Catholic Old Testament Canon is 46 Books

Judith tobit baruch 1st 2nd maccabees ecclesiastics wisdom of solomon

Judith-Tobit-Baruch-1st,2nd Maccabees-Ecclesiastics-Wisdom of Solomon

  • Septuagint was the Greek Torah translation for the Jews of the Diaspora

  • Septuagint refers to the 72 Greek Rabbis who translated the Hebrew Torah before the time of Christ for Greek Jews

  • More Jews remained outside of Palestine than were in Palestine after the Diaspora



  • Genesis-5 Books- pre-history of God’s call in creation and the time of the patriarch's

  • Exodus-Deliverance from Egypt & receiving the Covenant

  • Leviticus-obligations of the Covenant

  • Numbers-increases laws and time in desert

  • Deuteronomy-Moses gives meaning of Covenant

Historical books

Historical Books

  • Joshua-conquest of the Promised land

  • Judges-settlement and survival in the land

  • 1st & 2nd Samuel-Chosen peoples need for King and coming of Saul and David

  • 1st & 2nd Kings-History and fidelity of Kings who followed David down to the end of Jewish Monarchy in 586 BC

Historical books1

Historical Books

  • 1st & 2nd Chronicles-Priestly view of period from Saul to return from Exile & David

  • Ezra-Emphasizes Jewish piety and the Torah in the face of Hellenism-closes Israel’s openness to mixed marriages-race

  • Nehemiah-Rebuilding, Practicality, census, feast of Booths (tents)

Historical books2

Historical Books

  • Tobit-Jewish piety & Oriental folklore-life at Nineveh-1st cure by fish-Angel Raphael

  • Judith-God saves Israel through a woman!

  • Esther-Feast of Purim-another woman saves Israel-teaches the people

  • 1st Maccabees-Alexander the Great-Jews & Gentiles revolt against Greek Syria

  • 2nd Maccabees-Theological viewpoint, homily and history joined together

Wisdom writings


  • Less attention to divine salvation, Torah

  • Less interest in Israel’s history, nationhood

  • Seeks answers to human problems: death-suffering-inequality-prosperity of wicked

  • Search for living a good life before God

  • Lessons for all people and not just believers

Wisdom writings1


  • Wisdom writings are similar too ancient texts of time, some as late as 2000BC

  • Sumeria-Assyria-Egypt all had Wisdom sayings

  • Sources used to educate within families and even in formal educational context

  • Everyday life, relationships, money and aspects other than survival and piety taught

Wisdom writings2


  • Maxims for life and living

  • Problems that are the precursors to the solution given by Christ in the New Testament

  • Wisdom knowledge was a longer period in Israel’s history than the time of prophets

  • Lessons of order, cause and effect, time as God is revealed in creation

Wisdom writings job


  • Written between 7th-5th Century BC

  • When bad things happen to a good guy

  • Setting is a folktale used still today to convey interesting stories

  • A search for meaning in suffering

  • Who needs friends like Job’s

  • Asking the hard questions of God

Wisdom writings psalms


  • The Hebrew Psalter (150)- at least half attributed to Davidic authorship

  • Written specifically for liturgical worship

  • Songs have distinct patterns, uses

  • Praise of God, exaltation, thanksgiving, lament are the most prolific both communal and individual

  • Don’t know how to pray, seek a Psalm

Wisdom writings proverbs


  • Order in God’s creation governing man too

  • Cause & Effect-acts have consequences

  • Time- Israel was to move forward in time mistakes of the past don’t end hope

  • God is revealed in nature’s beauty

  • God’s transcendent mystery is in the world

  • Suffering has meaning

  • Life is positive-there is always hope

Wisdom writings proverbs1


  • Responsibility is the human condition

  • God’s plan is a gift beyond human understanding

  • Fear of the Lord is Wisdom

  • Wisdom knows its limit

  • God is beyond all human wisdom

  • The virtue of the wise is TRUST in God

Ecclesiastes pessimistic preacher

EcclesiastesPessimistic Preacher

  • Qoheleth is Hebrew for Preacher-head of the assembly

  • Implied to be from Solomon-good source

  • Israelite thought after exile-Greek influence-doubts old answers

  • Tries to understand, find meaning in life by human thought

  • There is a time for everything

Ecclesiastes pessimistic preacher1

EcclesiastesPessimistic Preacher

  • Futility and emptiness result of constant searching in humanity

  • Divine mystery is always mystery

  • Enjoy what life affords you as “all is gift”

  • 1st step away from God as punisher

  • Eat-drink and be merry for tomorrow we die

  • Trust and hope in God in faith is the truth

Song of songs creation love sex

Song of SongsCreation-Love-Sex

  • Solomon gets around-many cultures* advance love and beauty of marriage feast

  • God’s love seen through the allegory of human love

  • Extols the power of undying love as God has for Israel and Christ has for his Church and our soul

  • Source of much Middle Ages Mysticism

Book of wisdom

Book of Wisdom

  • Written about a century before Christ

  • Book of Wisdom known only in the Greek Septuagint*

  • Philosophy found in Philo of Alexandria other Jewish writers of the 1st century BC

  • Probably last book written of Old Testament

  • Solomon given credit where due

  • Keep the faith-don’t be wise of the world

Book of wisdom1

Book of Wisdom

  • Justice and Wisdom under the eye of God brings eternal reward for just

  • Praise of Wisdom for its value to all

  • Long history of Israel’s failures and God’s mercy-folly of ungodliness

  • Salvation is starting to be seen as reward

  • Sheds light on Israel’s struggle in secular Greek and Roman world-as we do today

Sirach ecclesiasticus church book

SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book)

  • Not in Protestant or Hebrew Scripture

  • Written in Hebrew about 175-200BC-translated to Greek

  • Jesus son of Eleazar, son of Sirach translated by author’s grandson

  • Ancient Hebrew text found at Masada predates Christ (by 1900 half proven ok)

Sirach ecclesiasticus church book1

SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book)

  • God is compassion, but…

  • Ambiguity & uncertainty of life and human limitations; we can’t resolve God’s mystery

  • Ethics for everyday life

  • The rule of the Law and fear of the Lord are true wisdom

  • Not doctrinal but a good map

Sirach ecclesiasticus church book2

SirachEcclesiasticus (Church Book)

  • One living and Eternal God

  • He makes himself known through creation

  • Made man for God’s glory and goodness

  • Endowed man with free will and accountability

  • Israel-the chosen people

  • Wisdom is the fear of God

  • Proven in Faith, Hope, Love and Trust in God



  • Out of Order

  • “Nabi”: one called, “pro-phates”: speaks on behalf of another-herald, announcer

  • Often “stood in heaven-with God”

  • Early and late-early prophets were specific and on payrolls-not hereditary, odd job

  • Later Prophets concerned with morality, virtue, piety, vice and failures of people



  • Major Prophets-wrote a lot

  • Minor Prophets-wrote less

  • Prophetic Books are collections of thoughts and words of prophets and later translators and editors

  • The written words are translated to every times needs

  • God’s words don’t die but lives anew



  • Longest prophetic book in Bible

  • Written over 40 years around 700BC

  • Original work believed to be only the 1st 39 of 66 chapters

  • Isaiah had access to king and most likely a person of noble birth and education

  • Lived through wars and rebellions

  • Much of this history found in museums



  • Focus on God’s plan for the whole world

  • Visions of Immanuel and hope to show God’s love for the people

  • God is the “Holy One of Israel” residing in the midst of the people

  • Foresaw destruction of Israel, but with a remnant for hope and from which to rebuild



  • God is not hateful, but exalted in justice and righteous in holiness

  • Made use of Jerusalem’s Royal traditions

  • A southern prophet in Jerusalem not of the northern kingdom

  • The Temple was next to palace in place and mind and politics

  • Trust in the Lord will lead the way



  • Ethical insight, real warnings of disaster, and hope for the future mark Isaiah

  • Isaiah becomes basis for reflections

  • Gave hope in the time of Exile

  • Stirred the messianic hopes in post exile prophets

  • Isaiah is the most quoted book of early Christianity for explanation of Jesus Christ



  • Prophet chosen from the womb

  • A book about and not just from Jeremiah

  • Written over 45 years during a time of great change

  • Egypt, Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, all holding sway over Israel

  • Israel had 3 kings in the 20 years

  • Exile to Babylon begins (2Kings24:10-16)



  • Taught against idolatry and injustice

  • Had great sympathy for God’s and mans needs

  • Message of obedience to God’s will

  • Israel failed to take up pleas and Jeremiah despairs of being able to halt or intercede for the people

  • Foretells first destruction of Temple



  • Temple priest, prophets and others were hotly opposed to Jeremiah

  • Saved from execution more than once

  • Spoke against Temple prophets who only spoke words of comfort and peace

  • Rails against the easy life of comfort they live and their idolatry

  • Claims true prophets must have been with God in someway taken to Him



  • Jeremiah sees a new Covenant for the people-written on the hearts by God

  • Israel could not achieve obedience on their own, God will grant the grace to obey

  • In Jeremiah’s view the exiles will have gained more than they lost while those who remained in Israel will have lost more

  • It is in exile that Biblical tradition will grow

Lamentations of jeremiah

Lamentationsof Jeremiah

  • Total destruction of Judah left very few scavengers living off the land-586BC

  • Describes the death of Jerusalem in terms of a widow and not as just death as end

  • Alone, lonely and friendless without comfort, but not without hope and faith

  • The visions of Jeremiah are given flesh in Lamentations.

Lamentations of jeremiah1

Lamentationsof Jeremiah

  • A work of an eyewitness to the fall of Jerusalem

  • A confession of grief and humiliation in the world

  • Submission to the merited chastisement and a strong faith in God’s love to restore the Israel

  • Reflects the weakness of man & God’s strength

  • Israel’s faith survives national ruin and despair

  • First letters of poems are actually the Hebrew alphabet in order-gives order in emotion

Baruch secretary to jeremiah

BaruchSecretary to Jeremiah

  • Not in Protestant or Jewish Scripture

  • Written either in Jerusalem or Babylon

  • Confessional and liturgical in view

  • Lessons learned once again point to the importance of Wisdom and the fear of the Lord

  • Last Chapter stands on its own

Baruch secretary to jeremiah1

BaruchSecretary to Jeremiah

  • Epistle of Jeremiah-conflict of authorship

  • Patterned on work of Jeremiah

  • Warnings against idolatry without poetry

  • Seems to be a compilation of works

  • Admittance to Canon was settled for Catholics at the Council of Trent

Ezekiel the prophet from exile

EzekielThe prophet from exile

  • Contemporary of Jeremiah

  • Seems to have psychic power, mystic seer

  • Draws themes from more ancient prophets

  • Recreates trust that God’s still at work

  • First prophet to teach out of promised land

  • Like Jeremiah not a person of popularity

  • He must preach even of people don’t listen

Ezekiel the prophet from exile1

EzekielThe prophet from exile

  • Book is highly ordered-symbolic, literary

  • Great detail and unity proves single writer

  • Judgment a major theme

  • Tells of infiltration to priesthood of pagans

  • Individual responsibility for actions

  • Sin no longer seen as passed down

  • Strong sense of community-nationhood

Ezekiel the prophet from exile2

EzekielThe prophet from exile

  • Saw Babylon as God’s instrument

  • Israel as constantly failing the Covenant

  • God has to act for “His Name”

  • Plan for return from exile and restoration

  • Punishment even for lands of pagan gods

  • Speaks to a people left to pick up the pieces

Ezekiel the prophet from exile3

EzekielThe prophet from exile

  • New Covenant was to be on the hearts

  • Religion was not to be external but in the peoples hearts

  • Religion had now to be practiced outside the Temple and the Promise

  • The Pentateuch written during this time

  • Deuteronomic History to explain the disaster of exile

Daniel apocalyptic


  • 4th and last Major prophet-order varies from Talmud which places it last

  • Daniel lives in Royal Court of Babylon-exile

  • Chapters 3-14 only in Septuagint-includes

  • Prayer of Azarias-3 in furnace-writings on the wall-and the lion’s den

  • Story of faith-Not of history-confused details

Daniel apocalyptic1


  • Dreams, interpretations and history mixed into a story of faith

  • These collections are a collection of predictions after the face

  • Long ago events that have already taken place coded to protect those in peril

  • Written over 400 years to interpret history after the fact

Daniel apocalyptic2


  • Integrity & courage, study the law and behave well give example of piety

  • Gives first divine promise of life after death

  • Kingdom of God-Son of Man are given

  • Apocalyptic wording is new literary form used for the first time here

  • Symbolic language, special agents not of human origin but as God as Master of all

The minor prophets hosea

The Minor ProphetsHosea

  • Hosea-prophesied at same time as Isaiah did in Judah

  • God chastises as a jealous lover

  • Israel’s infidelity like Gomers

  • Israel had been ruthless to poor and the rich were extremely greedy

  • The first example of God and Israel as marriage-used by Paul as Christ and Church

The minor prophets joel

The Minor ProphetsJoel

  • Post-exilic (516BC) Penitential in nature

  • Rend your hearts, not your garments

  • Plagues and punishments come, always

  • Apocalyptic visions and a new present to the world

  • God’s fidelity and love are eternal

  • The closer the time of Christ comes the more apocalyptic Jewish prophecy becomes

The minor prophets amos

The Minor ProphetsAmos

  • Contemporary to Hosea (750BC)

  • Sheppard did not go to prophetic school

  • Told to go Northern kingdom to preach

  • Israel rebuked more than Judah

  • Heartless luxury, self indulgence

  • Book ends in hope of God’s restoration of Davidic kingdom and purified nation

The minor prophets obadiah

The Minor ProphetsObadiah

  • Shortest Book in Old Testament

  • Written to Edomites as they seized areas of Israel with Babylon

  • Edom was people by Esau’s children (Jacob (Israel) & Esau (Edom) ) brothers

  • Stress on God’s justice against nations

  • God cares for all who suffer and will prevail in justice sooner or later

The minor prophets jonah

The Minor ProphetsJonah

  • Contains only one prophecy-Jonah’s words to Nineveh

  • Johan disobeys is sent to sea to be saved by a fish and praises God

  • Jonah considered humorous to Israel then

  • Jonah is a story to enjoy with a smile

  • Reverses and irony show a universal God

  • We can’t figure out God with our ways

The minor prophets micah

The Minor ProphetsMicah

  • Not of Jerusalem-talks of villages & towns

  • Contemporary to Isaiah-but opposite type

  • Same evils as seen in Jerusalem

  • Condemnation of big city problem life

  • Punishment for all of Israel

  • Hope remains but in lawyerly language

  • Condemns: if everyone does it, its ok

  • Rather: do right and walk humbly with God

The minor prophets nahum

The Minor ProphetsNahum

  • Name means Consoler but he foretells destruction of Nineveh, Assyrian capital

  • Nineveh was hated by all

  • Israel’s failures were seen to be less than Nineveh’s

  • The same fate would await Israel

  • Nineveh trusted in its walls and warriors

  • Know what God had done and trust Him

The minor prophets habakkuk

The Minor ProphetsHabakkuk

  • Lived after Nahum tells of God’s use of Babylon as His scourge

  • God punishes the evil of all either Israelite or not

  • For the first time man start to question God in the way all people rule their lands

  • Tells of God’s appearance in glory

  • Once again trust in God restored

The minor prophets zephaniah

The Minor ProphetsZephaniah

  • Jews had fallen to worship of celestial gods and other false gods (640BC)

  • “Day of the Lord” will fall upon whole world

  • Greatest reckoning will be on educated ruling classes

  • Universality of the “Kingdom of God” where one God, one faith and one redemption is prophesied

The minor prophets haggai

The Minor ProphetsHaggai

  • 1st Post Exilic (520BC) delivered specifically to the Governor and High Priest

  • People were concerned for themselves and forgot the house of God, Temple

  • Promise of renewal of the lands upon completion of Temple

  • The land was cursed through sin but now blessings are to be returned by God

The minor prophets zechariah 1 st 2 nd

The Minor ProphetsZechariah (1st,2nd)

  • Contemporary to Haggai but added to later by other authors (520BC)

  • Rebuild Temple, focus on priests, purify community- do good, not evil, compassion

  • 2nd book has no visions-poetic God is deliverer- shepherd

  • “Day of the Lord” starts to be seen as a future time

The minor prophets malachi

The Minor ProphetsMalachi

  • Malachi-Messenger of the Lord-undated

  • Lover of liturgy-marriage & divorce-failure to tithe-warns of God’s judgment

  • Uses questions & answers much like a child’s catechism

  • Remain faithful to the Covenant and the Law

  • Book ends with…

Last words of old testament

Last Words of Old Testament

  • Remember the Law of my servant Moses*…statutes and commandments…

    That I gave…I will send Elijah* before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes…

    He will direct the hearts of fathers to their children and hearts of children to their fathers…so that I will not come to smite the land with a curse.

    *Both with Jesus at his transfiguration…

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