Why Two Testaments?

Have you ever wondered why the Bible has two testaments?

A testament is an agreement between two parties. The Old and New Testaments of the Bible are solemn promises that God has made. Peter calls them, “exceedingly great and precious promises,” (2 Peter 1v4).

Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament papyri, showing 2 Cor 11:33-12:9

The Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew between around 1500 BC and 400 BC. It covers God’s dealings with mankind before the birth of His son Jesus. It foretells the coming of the Lord Jesus.

The New Testament was written in Greek in the first century AD, and it records the work of Jesus and his followers. Above is an early fragment of the New Testament called Papyrus 46, showing part of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.

The two testaments are dependent on each other. The Old Testament is incomplete without the New, and it is impossible to fully understand the New Testament without the Old.

The New Testament begins like this: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” (Matthew 1v1). In order to find out about David and Abraham, you need to read the Old Testament. There are over 60 quotations from the Old Testament in Matthew alone. Jesus explained to his disciples how the events that had happened to him had been written down hundreds of years before, in the Old Testament (see Luke 24v27 and 44 for example).

This link between the Old and New Testaments has been summarised by this saying: “The New is in the Old contained; the Old is in the New explained.” Both Testaments are essential for a complete understanding of God’s plan of salvation for the world through the work of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 responses to “Why Two Testaments?

  1. Pingback: Beginners’s Guide to Reading the Bible – Part 2 | Burton Christadelphians

  2. Pingback: Beginner’s Guide to Reading the Bible – Part 2 | Burton Christadelphians

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