We learned yesterday that “all Scripture is God-breathed…and…useful…” (2 Timothy 3:16) In other words, all of the 66 books of the Bible were given to us by God and have practical value. It is that “practical teaching” of the Word of God that serves as a faith catalyst in our lives.
But (am I even allowed to ask this question?) have you ever struggled in identifying the practicality of God’s Word? A quick survey of the kinds of literature in the Bible may make it seem challenging. Meanwhile, a quick assessment of their broader purpose reminds us of their practicality. Today, we will look largely at the Old Testament…the portion of the Bible, with which we likely struggle most.
- Law – That word can be used as a general reference to the first five books of the Bible, as a reference to the 613 specific instructions given to Moses, or even as a reference to the 10 commandments. How practical are they for us in a day of grace? Galatians 3:23-25 reminds us that the law helps us to understand our need for the Savior. The Law is practical.
- History – The historical books include those from Joshua through Esther in the OT and Acts in the NT. Meanwhile, there are many other portions that give a historical account of what happened. You might ask, where is the practical value of history? In our reading today, we were reminded that the historical experiences of the Israelites serve us as examples of things to avoid.
- Wisdom/Poetry – This type of teaching includes but is not limited to that found in the books of Job through Song of Solomon. This is likely one of the types of literature for which the “practical value” is obvious. The writings of Proverbs, for example, give us great insights into general principles for life. Many of the Psalms, meanwhile, help us to give words to our worship and prayers.
- Prophecy – In broad strokes, these books include both the Major and Minor Prophets of Isaiah through Malachi as well as Revelation. Some may question their practical value based on their complexity or based on their specificity to the nation of Israel. The person who labors hard in these books, however, is able to identify application for the church and to discern its unique position in God’s plan.
Don’t avoid the Old Testament because you deem it impractical!