OTB9 – Trusting the Old Testament texts as they are now
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 12 May 2020
As outlined above, there are many evidences of the prolonged and complex processes involved in creating and preserving the OT Hebrews 1:1, 1Peter 1:10,11,12. Details of its authorship, earlier sources and compilation are not fully known. So how can present readers have confidence in the OT as still being truly God-inspired writings?
The OT authors often made references to the OT as being the written records of what God had said Exodus 24:7, Nehemiah 8:1,8. Leviticus introduces a record of God’s spoken words Lev 1:1-2 which then takes up about 88% of the whole book of 27 chapters!
When Jesus mentioned the “Scriptures” He was referring only to the OT (as the NT had not yet been written) Matt 22:29, Luke 4:17,21, 24:44. Similarly the NT authors were also referring to the OT Luke 24:45, Acts 1:16, Romans 1:2-4, 15:4, 1Cor 15:3-4, 2Tim 3:14-15. They believed that God inspired all the writings of the OT 2Timothy 3:16(KJV), 2Peter 1:20-21.
Jesus and many biblical authors declared that these inspired writings would never disappear Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8, Matt 5:17, 24:35. This even means that God has preserved all the OT books included in the Bible (the “canonical” books) and maintained their accuracy sufficiently in the copies that have survived until now Matt 5:18.
The OT contains declarations of its own authority as God’s Scriptures Joshua 23:6, 2Kings 17:13,14. Jesus often quoted from the OT by saying “it is written…” Matt 4:4,7,10, Mark 7:6-7, Luke 7:27, 19:46. He was assuming the authority of the OT by affirming it was theologically accurate and adequate.
These assumptions have also been confirmed by Christians over the centuries. There has been a broad consensus as to the truth and reliability of the OT’s information about God.
All of this means that the authority of the OT does not rely ultimately upon knowing its authorship or other aspects of its historical origins. On the basis of its own claims it has been accepted as the correct account of God’s true nature and His actions in history. It is also accepted as a faithful record of His inspired insights about Himself as given to those who wrote them down.
So the OT is believed to be a vital part of “the Word of God” and of the Scriptures of Christianity Luke 24:25-26,27, 1Thessalonians 2:13. It therefore has a crucial role in the instruction and development of all Christians Deuteronomy 17:18,19,20, Joshua 1:8, Romans 15:4, 2Timothy 3:16-17.