Studying the Old Testament

Here at Northern Baptist Seminary we are just coming to the end of the academic year. Since we are on the quarter system, we begin class late in September and finish class during the first week in June.

As I come to the end of the academic year, my work as a professor intensifies. Now that my students have gone home for the summer, I have to read book reviews, research papers, read theses, conduct oral exams, and prepare for the commencement exercises. Because I am the Faculty Marshal, it is my responsibility to make the arrangements for the Processional and the Recessional of the Faculty during the commencement ceremony.

The end of the academic year means that it is hard to find extra time to write my posts. I try to post every day, but when I have a busy week such as graduation week, I am not be able to post every day. This means that I will not be able to post again until next Monday. At that time I hope to conclude my studies on the book of Judges.

I would like to thank you for your support and words of encouragement. It is amazing the numbers of emails I receive from people who appreciate reading what I write. Most people have a choice of what they read daily. I am honored when you chose to read my blog regularly.

Hundreds of people have subscribed to my blog. For that, I thank you. Many of you have recommended my blog to others. For that, I am most grateful. Just the other day a new subscriber told me how much she enjoys my posts. When I hear that my writing is helping people develop a better appreciation for the Old Testament, then it is when I know that I have achieved one of my goals.

When the apostle Paul went to the Roman world preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, the only Scripture he had was the Sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people. By preaching from those sacred books, Paul was able to bring many people to faith. Today we call the Sacred Scriptures of the Jewish people the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament.

When Paul wrote to Timothy, encouraging him to be faithful to those Sacred Scriptures, Paul wrote the following:

“The Old Testament is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I know that Paul said “all scripture,” but since there was no New Testament (or the whole Bible for that matter) in Paul’s day, he had to be referring to the Old Testament. Even if he did not have the Old Testament in mind, the Old Testament is also inspired by God and is useful for teaching.

So, let us study the Old Testament so that we can be equipped for every good work.

I will see you on Monday.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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