The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt 13:44).
One of my favorite courses to teach at Bethlehem College and Seminary is the two semesters of Old Testament Background and Message, which combines OT survey, introduction, and biblical theology for our first year seminary students. What follows are some quotes from a reflection assignment the students handed in on the last day of class:
- “Studying the Old Testament has given me a new found awareness of my desperate need for holiness and has increased my appreciation for the holiness freely given by Christ.” ––Jeremiah M.
- “I can’t imagine how someone can attempt to pursue deep joy, delight, and satisfaction in God without the Old Testament.” ––Clay H.
- “As a result of this past year in the Old Testament, my affections for God have deepened and my ability to communicate the gospel has dramatically expanded. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.” ––Mark K.
- “During my study through the OT, I could not handle how ‘Christian Hedonistic’ and ‘Calvinistic’ the OT was. At first I thought Dr. D was just importing ‘Piperism’ to the text. But book after book, the themes of sovereignty, divine grace and future grace, and joy jumped off the page!” ––Sam C.
- “Spending a year in the Old Testament has made me want to persuade people of the truth of Christ through the Old Testament as the apostles did. I want my hearers to feel the weight of sin as Israel did and yearn for deliverance from the Messiah. I want them to feel the need for Jesus not just see it as a logical solution to a mathematical problem. These two semesters have made me a more heartfelt affectionate worshiper of our Messiah.” ––Adam P.
- “Knowing him better, seeing the Old Testament reveal a God who is now better understood in Christ but has always been the same, has brought me more to worship than ever before.” ––Ryan E.
- “The treasure is Christ. The ocean is Christ. The trackless reaches of the universe are Christ. He was the piercing ray of joy that we saw woven throughout the Old Testament (not forced in, but revealed). Christ was our central gain in [Old Testament] background and message.” ––Benjamin K.
The gospel of the kingdom is a treasure, and the hope of this gospel begins from the Bible’s first page. We celebrate this good news at BCS. What a grace that God met these students in this way!
If you want to become a treasure hunter like these students, I offer three resources:
- My gospel-saturated, thematic, theological Old Testament survey titled What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013). You can read my overview here or read through a recent interview I had on the book here.
- My new OT survey course materials, including audio lectures, PowerPoint, and extended book notes. Lord willing, I will be updating this material every week until all the OT is covered.
- Come study at Bethlehem College and Seminary!