In the days of Christ’s life on this earth, believers did not have access to the Bible in its entirety as we know and are familiar with today. Believers in this ancient time period only had access to the Old Testament. However, through their access to the Old Testament, believers were provided a foundation for New Testament times. This foundation provided New Testament believers with the Lord’s established principles of right and wrong they were expected to follow. In addition, the Old Testament is overflowing with accounts of people whose lives exemplified the future life of Christ on this earth. These pictures allowed the Israelite nation to begin to have an understanding of why Christ needed to come as their Messiah and the work He needed to do on earth. Finally, there are common themes that are interwoven throughout the entire Old Testament. Three of these themes: transgression, redemption, and consummation point to the purpose of Christ’s atoning death on the cross. These themes portray God’s work both in the lives of Old Testament believers, but they also foreshadow God’s desire and plan for believers in New Testament times and beyond.
The Old Testament is divided into six major sections. During each of these sections, elements of Old Testament history foreshadow various New Testament themes and events. Some of these various accounts recorded in the Old Testament are prophetical in nature and foretell specific details about various events that will be fulfilled in New Testament times. Each of the six major sections carries its own unique overarching theme that will in some way tie into New Testament history and theology. The six major sections of Old Testament are: creation (Genesis 1-11), covenant (Genesis 12-50), congregation (Exodus-Deuteronomy), conquest (Joshua-1 Samuel 8), crown, (1 Samuel 9 - 2 Chronicles, Job-Song of Solomon, Isaiah-Zephaniah), and captivity (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).
Summary of the Six Major Sections of the Old Testament
Oftentimes when people think of the creation occurring in Genesis, they immediately think of the creation of the physical world, as we know it today. However, there is an element of the creation that goes much deeper than merely the physical world. In addition to the various elements of the physical world that were created, many spiritual concepts were created and introduced in Genesis 1-11 that laid a foundation for New Testament principles and theology. These spiritual concepts introduced in Genesis 1-11 also foreshadowed Christ and His work. In these chapters, sin corrupted the perfect world God made. Because a perfect God cannot tolerate sin, a substitutionary system of atonement needed to be provided through Christ in order for mankind to be rescued from sin and its consequence-eternal death.
“The theme of Genesis is God’s choice of a nation through whom He would bless all nations” (Wilkinson & Boa, 7). In Genesis 12-50, God establishes His eternal...