In his new book, "Divine Mysteries: Concise and Thoughtful Ancient Biblical Wisdom," Dr. Jeffrey Johnson is intentional in his use of both the Old and New Testaments to explain some of the Bible's most perplexing issues. He says any leader or pastor who wants to eradicate the Old Testament from modern-day Christianity is making the New Testament irrelevant as well.
"Jesus and the Apostles read the Old Testament," says Dr. Johnson. "Paul reminded Timothy to remember what he had learned from it. The cornerstone and foundation upon which Christianity and the New Testament rests is the Jewish Bible, or what is called the Tenach. The New Testament was not written or completed until after the resurrection. Christians ignoring the Old Testament will miss the meaning of everything written in the New. I prefer the terms First and Second Covenants rather than Old and New Testaments. There is nothing 'old' within the Hebrew Bible as it is the fertile seed that birthed the New Testament, and a fertile seed is not old, but alive and strong."
A recent study by Lifeway found that about half of Americans (53 percent) have read relatively little of the Bible. The study shows that one in 10 has read none of it, while 13 percent have read a few sentences. Thirty percent say they have read several passages or stories. Dr. Johnson says biblical illiteracy is one reason he wrote the book, but not the only reason.
"Believers are not being taught scripture thoroughly, and are ignorant of basic scriptural knowledge," says Dr. Johnson. "It seems to be the product of an entertainment culture in churches. We have personality/celebrity talks or rallies instead of verse-by-verse teaching, thus creating a shallow Christian community that has not been taught the holiness of reading scripture. But even the most educated evangelicals struggle with biblical mysteries. I wrote this book to remind us all that God is bigger than our preconceived ideas about His involvement with those created in His image. I also wanted to offer believers hope during times when life does not make any sense and gets messy. God is bigger than our denominational mores and interpretations of Him."
Dr. Jeffrey Johnson is a Bible expositor with expertise in Jewish roots of Christianity, the Middle East, and theology. He is the founder and president of Israel Today Ministries which has helped feed thousands of Israeli children and Holocaust survivors. In addition to being an author of several books, he is a former adjunct professor of systematic theology and has taught in universities around the world including Harvard and Oxford. He received a Master's degree from Moody Bible Institute, his Doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University, and Doctoral Research with the University of South Africa. For more information, visit www.IsraelTodayMinistries.org.