Christ is the center of all God’s thoughts and purposes from eternity; therefore, He is necessarily the center and theme of the entire Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments.
We read in Hebrews 1:1,2, God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spoke in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. “These last days” are the New Testament days, intimately linked with the entire present or Christian dispensation, as contrasted with the former or Jewish dispensation. All in that former period was “in many parts and in many ways”; everything was partial, fragmentary, and preparatory. The Old Testament Scriptures, while as perfectly inspired as the New, necessarily have the same characteristics as the truths which they reveal - indeed, both the Scriptures and the truths which they reveal are identical. We therefore naturally turn first to the New Testament for the complete revelation of the person of Christ, and after we have gleaned from its pages sufficient data from which to formulate the New Testament doctrine, we can turn with this light to the Old Testament, and, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, find its pages illumined with “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). This will be found equally true of the historical, the prophetic, and the poetic books.
|New Testament||description||Parallel in Pentateuch|
|Matthew, Mark, Luke, John||narrative of the life, teaching, sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord||Genesis|
|Acts||history of the deliverance of the people of God from the bondage of Judaism into Christian liberty||Exodus|
|epistles of Paul||the way of access into the presence of God is unfolded, and a full revelation of the doctrines of Christianity is given||Leviticus|
|general epistles||application of Christian truth to the needs, difficulties and trials of our earthly pilgrimage||Numbers|
|Revelation||gathers up the great moral lessons of the past and then directs our gaze forward into the glories of our eternal inheritance||Deuteronomy|
The New Testament is divided, after the manner of the Pentateuch, into five distinct portions. The four Gospels give us a narrative of the life, teaching, sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord, answering to the book of Genesis. In the book of Acts we have the history of the deliverance of the people of God from the bondage of Judaism into Christian liberty, answering to the book of Exodus. The epistles of Paul are the New Testament Leviticus, in which the way of access into the presence of God is unfolded, and a full revelation of the doctrines of Christianity is given. The general epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude are devoted to the application of Christian truth to the needs, difficulties and trials of our earthly pilgrimage, corresponding in this way to the book of Numbers, in which Israel’s journeyings through the wilderness are narrated. The book of Revelation, after the manner of Deuteronomy, gathers up the great moral lessons of the past and then directs our gaze forward into the glories of our eternal inheritance. Each of the five divisions presents the person of our Lord in a way appropriate to the theme of the division, and yet in perfect accord with the entire truth as to His person.