I grew up in a tradition that treated the Old Testament as a great piece of historical reading with little to no context for our lives. We based our practices in the New Testament and held it as the only part of the Bible that should give us spiritual direction. What I continue to preach today is that God has not changed from the beginning. His methods may have changed along with our culture and therefore our interpretations, but God's heart is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
The Old Testament isn't simply a document to make sense of the New Testament so we can live under the New Testamental code. The Old Testament is the story of the Trinity and their relationship with humankind and the New Testament is the continuation of that story and our lives today are the next story of the same. I like the way that Scot McKnight puts it in his book The King Jesus Gospel: “the gospel” is the story of Jesus of Nazareth told as the climax of the long story of Israel, which in turn is the story of how the one true God is rescuing the world. (12) "The King Jesus Gospel." Mcknight says, "Let's make this point clear: the gospel is the Story of Jesus as the completing Story of Israel." (p.85) "Did Jesus preach the gospel? Yes, he preached the gospel because the gospel is the saving Story of Jesus completing Israel's Story, and Jesus clearly sets himself at the center of God's saving plan for Israel." (p.111) "...Jesus preached Jesus, Paul preached Jesus and Peter preached Jesus. Preaching Jesus is preaching the gospel." (p. 111)
These quotes and this idea can give a person who cannot understand or get excited about the Old Testament see it with new eyes and fresh perspective. The Old Testament has much more to offer than just grand-fun-to-tell-epic stories. It unfolds the heart of God that begins with a retelling of creation, deals with present-day struggles and issues, while ending with the voice of prophets proclaiming God's continuing love and purpose for his people. The New Testament is more than just grand-miraculous-Jesus-grace stories. It is compelling the reader to God's true heart while laying the groundwork for what the Holy Spirit will do for people following Jesus' ascension and the church's birth.
These are exciting documents that bring life to death, inspiration to religion, and a future from the ancient. Read from Genesis to Revelation and find the thread that holds the entire story together. Promise me though that you won't forget that God, Jesus, Spirit aren't done when you finish, but continually live within you and go before you till the end of time.