What are the differences and similarities between the Old and New Testaments?
Why are there two testaments?
Firstly, why is the bible split into two parts, the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT)? The word 'testament' comes from the Greek word diatheke and can also be translated as a contract (as in a will) or a covenant. Under the first or old covenant God's people were required to obey the law of Moses, and when they failed to obey the law forgiveness was obtained by shedding the blood of an animal (Hebrews 8-9) i.e. the animal was sacrificed. In the second or new covenant forgiveness was achieved through the shed blood of Jesus when he died on the cross (Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 9:15). The new covenant is spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34) "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people". In 2 Corinthians 3:6 Paul contrasts the old covenant of the letter of the law, which kills, with the new covenant of the spirit, which gives life. God's revelation to mankind is progressive, part 1 followed by part 2, and much of what is hidden in the OT is revealed in the NT.
In order to fully understand the NT it is important to
Similarities and differences: