Quick Guide to Identifying Gospel Themes in the Old Testament

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From Genesis to Revelations, God tells the story of the redemption of His people, His coming kingdom progressively revealed. One could spend years studying the gospel in the Old Testament, and hopefully many women’s ministries will dedicate studies in the future to uncovering Jesus in the Old Testament. But if you tend to get bogged down in the details, here’s a big picture overview to help identify gospel themes in the Old Testament. This is not exhaustive by any means, but it can serve as an easy tool for anyone new to understanding the Old Testament in light of the gospel.

Consider these four general Christ-centered categories into which much of the Old Testament can be broken (often as some combination of the four):

  • Clear prophecies of the coming Messiah.
    • Genesis 3:15
    • Isaiah 53
    • Isaiah 61
  • Stories that show God’s work to preserve the lineage of Christ .
    • Joseph’s efforts in Egypt that kept Abraham’s descendants from being wiped out in the famine.
    • Ruth providing Boaz a son, continuing the lineage of Christ.
    • Hannah’s infertility leading to the birth of Samuel, who eventually anoints David, in whose lineage Jesus is born.
  • Stories that are pictures of the coming Christ, His work, and His kingdom.
    • The Old Testament sacrificial system
    • Hosea and Gomer
    • Boaz and Ruth
  • Stories that reinforce our inability to save ourselves and therefore, our need for salvation through Christ.
    • Judges
    • Amos

As you study the Old Testament, these categories can be helpful in identifying gospel themes in various stories and instructions, especially if you have not previously been taught on the gospel in the Old Testament.

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