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Distinguishing Between the Testaments

by David Pharr

In your study and use of the Bible you must learn to "rightly divide" (2 Timothy 2:15). This means making the right application of the various parts of Scripture.

As you continue to study you will become more and more accustomed to determining from the context what is the application of a passage. Beginning Bible students frequently feel discouraged because the Bible seems hard to understand. But remember that it takes time to develop skill. Everyone else has had to start their study when it was also difficult for them.

One of the most important divisions to recognize in the Bible is the difference between those things which are a part of the Old and New Testament laws. Failure to make this distinction causes much confusion. Many of the errors of modern denominationalism have developed because the dividing line between the Old Testament and New Testament was not recognized.

All of the Old Testament was written during the time when the law given through Moses was in force. This law pertained especially to the Israelite nation. John 1:17 says, "The (Old Testament) law was given by Moses..."

The law of Moses continued in force during the earthly lifetime of Jesus. It was the law under which He lived (Galatians 4:4 says He was "made under the law"). It is important to remember that many things connected with Jesus' earthly life were things that pertained to the law of Moses, such as keeping the Jewish feasts, the Sabbath, etc. Remember, though, that during His earthly ministry Jesus was teaching things which would later be incorporated into His New Testament.

But when Christ died He took away the law of Moses and replaced it with His New Testament law.

Some of the numerous passages that teach this are Colossians 2:14; Galatians 3:24,25; and Hebrews 8:8-13; 10:9. We understand, therefore, that we today live under the law of Christ, not the law of Moses. Listed in the two columns below are a few things that are differences between these two important laws.

*Given to Israelite nation only
*Sabbath (Saturday)
*Instrumental music
*Animal sacrifices
*Levitical priesthood

*For all nations
*Lord's Day (Sunday)
*Singing only
*Blood of Christ
*Priesthood of all believers
*Giving as prospered

Do you remember to pray in conjunction with Bible study? Pray for strong convictions based on the truths you learn. Pray not only for the ability to understand, but also for the faith to rely absolutely on all that God says. Pray for the strength, then, to obey what God in His word asks you to do.

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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