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2. Comparing the Old and New Testaments

The Bible may be divided into eight basic sections: four for the Old Testament and four for the New, but it should be noted that in each of these, Christ is the hope and underlying theme of all the books of the Bible. On several occasions, Christ claimed that He is the theme of all of Scripture:

    1. In Matthew 5:17 He said, “I have come not to abolish them (the Scriptures) but to fulfill them.”

    2. When walking with the disciples on the Emmaus road, Luke tells us that, “… beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

    3. Later that evening, the Lord spoke to ten of the disciples and regarding that, Luke tells us in Luke 24:44-47, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

    4. In John 5:39 and 40, when in dialogue with the Jews, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”

In addition, in Revelation 19:10 we are told that “the testimony of Jesus (about Jesus) is the spirit of prophecy.” In other words, the very nature and purpose of prophecy, and all of Scripture for that matter, is to reveal Jesus Christ. Obviously, due to the fall and need of man, Christ is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments for it is only through Him that we can have both eternal life and life abundantly (John 10:10).

Old Testament
(four-fold division)

Law—the Foundation for Christ

History—Preparation for Christ

Poetry—Aspiration for Christ

Prophecy—Expectation of Christ


The Old Testament in its four-fold division lays the foundation for the coming of the Messiah Savior anticipating Him as Prophet, Priest, and King and as the suffering Savior who must die for man’s sin before He reigns.

New Testament
(four-fold division)



Tells the story of the coming of the long-anticipated Savior and His person and work.



Through the work of the Holy Spirit, Acts proclaims the message of the Savior who has come.





Develops the full significance of the person and work of Christ and how this should impact the walk of the Christian as Christ’s ambassador in the world.



Anticipates the end time events and the return of the Lord, His end time reign, and the eternal state.

Related Topics: Canon

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