The Old Testament

The Bible is divided into two general divisions-the Old Testament and the New Testament. The former, beginning with Genesis and closing with Malachi, covers the whole period of the world’s history from the creation to within about 400 years of Christ. For centuries it has been held that the first five books of the Old Testament, with the exception of the closing chapter of Deuteronomy, were written by Moses, or at least prepared under his instruction. In fact, Christ, who knew what he was talking about, repeatedly refers to Moses as the author of the books containing the law, or the Pentateuch, as these five books are commonly called. (See Luke 24:44 and John 5:46, 47.) In Mark 12126 Jesus calls Exodus “the book of Moses.” In the time of Christ the Old Testament was divided into three parts-the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. The authorship of the law was ascribed to Moses, while the other parts were assigned to a number of authors; but all of the books, constituting the collection, were looked upon as inspired.

The Old Testament gives an account of God’s dealings with his people during the Old Dispensation, and served its purpose as God’s revelation to man for this period. Its teachings were more especially adapted to Israel as a nation, and were meant to prepare a people for a more advanced revelation. Hence Paul says that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Gal. 3:24). In the next verse we are told that “after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” In preparing a people, and leading them up to Christ, to the higher plane, the law has been fulfilled; that is, it has served its purpose. Or, as Jesus once said: “The law and the prophets were until John” (Luke 16:16), therefore we are no longer under the law of Moses. The law, with its rites and ceremonies, has passed away, having been disannulled. Like an old institution, it has given place to a better covenant, and one “established on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). And since the Old Testament can not be regarded as our rule of faith and practice, we must naturally look to the New Testament.

–J. H. Moore,
The New Testament Doctrines,
Brethren Publishing House,
Elgin, Illinois. 1914.