Mind the Gap
If you are unaware of the gap, it could lead to your undoing. The Body of Christ is facing a major gap that could undermine its efforts to complete the Great Commission. The gap has to do with the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures, the First Testament or what we prefer to call the Original Testament. “Calling it the ‘Old Testament’ can make it sound something antiquated and out-ofdate that has nothing much to do with Christian faith. Actually it’s utterly up-to-date and hugely significant for Christian faith” (John Goldingay, “Preface” to The First Testament). The Original Testament speaks of origins, legacy, heritage, context, foundations. It is essential for God’s purposes to be accomplished on earth. But there are these gaps:
The Translation Gap
There are over 7,200 living languages spoken on earth today, but the whole Bible (sixty-six books including Original and New Testaments) has been translated into barely a little more than 700 languages. The New Testament has been published in an additional 1500+ languages. But we need the Original Testament to understand meaningfully the writings of the New. This is because one out of every four verses in the New Testament make a direct reference to the Original Testament. “Without exception, every New Testament author wrote about the new work of God on earth while looking through the prism of the earlier or ‘old’ work.” (Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read). Their words are built on what had been revealed in the earlier Scriptures. So if people read in New Testament about Abraham, Moses and David; or Babylon, Nineveh and Sodom; or the exodus, the law and the prophetic promises of Messiah, how can they possibly understand the author’s intent if they do not have the Original Testament?
The Usage Gap
Even among those who have access to the Original Testament in their mother tongue, the usage gap is undermining their understanding of how God wants to redeem every individual and transform every society. The thirty-nine books of the Original Testament have been called “the neglected three-quarters of the Bible” (Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read). The impact can be devastating on the life of the Church. It has been noted that “for many contemporary Christians … the Old Testament has ceased to function in healthy ways in their lives as sacred, authoritative, canonical literature” (Brent Strawn, The Old Testament is Dying).
The Understanding Gap
“For Jesus and the New Testament writers, these Scriptures were a living resource for understanding God, God’s ways in the world and God’s ways with us” (John Goldingay, “Preface” to The First Testament). “Most assuredly we cannot understand the New Testament apart from the Old” (Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read). If we want to have a full understanding of the transformative impact of the Gospel, it is imperative that we recover the rightful place of the Original Testament in the life of every follower of Jesus. We need to address this issue before it is too late. It is time to mind the gap!
The above is from “Mind The Gap” article by David Hamilton