Christians in the days and years just after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus had a situation unique from our own. When we think of the Bible today, we think of both the Old and New Testaments. When the earliest Christians thought of the Bible, they thought only of the Old Testament—because the New Testament books had not yet been composed. Only the books from Genesis to Malachi could be taught and preached to the people, because only those books were available. This led the early Christians to read their Bible—the Old Testament—with a keen awareness of their belief in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In other words, these earliest Christians read their Bibles with Jesus on the brain. They looked for prophecies of His coming. They searched for evidence of His works. And they sought images—like the bronze serpent Moses held in Numbers 21:6–9—that reminded them of Him. Though we now have the New Testament in addition to the Old, our reading should still follow the pattern of those early Christians. We, too, should look for evidence and echoes of Jesus throughout God’s Word.
John Adair received his master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Historical Theology. He served for seven years as a writer in the Creative Ministries Department of Insight for Living Ministries. John and his wife, Laura, have three children.
More articles by John Adair