Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The things written “in former days” are the things written in the Old Testament. It is written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11). We are able to read the accounts of history and profit from the examples of God’s dealing with people under different conditions. When men did good they were blessed and when they did evil they were punished. We should always learn from those who have lived before us so that we would not repeat the same mistakes.
Jesus did not “destroy” the law (Matthew 5:17) but he did “abolish” it (Ephesians 2:15). The word destroy means to “ruin the organic existence of, to put out of existence, annihilate.” The word abolish means “to do away with the existence of Old law (we have it today) but he did nullify its commandments (we are not subject to keep it). Example: burnt offerings were made under the Old (Exodus 29:18) – living sacrifices are made under the New (Romans 12:1-2), only certain ones of the tribe of Levi were priests under the Old (Exodus 40:12-15) – ever Christian is a priest under the New (1 Peter 2:5, 9).
Though the Old Law was taken away, being nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14), it contains many principles of truth that have always been true and always will. When we refer to it and use it, it is not to “prove” that the things stated therein are binding today, but simply to show that such truth has always been applicable. It was written for our learning. We can never go back to the Old Testament to obtain a “law” whereby we may learn what to do to “obey” God whether in all activities of life or worship. That law is no longer binding!
We use the Old Testament today just as the New Testament apostles and evangelists did in their preaching – they referred to it extensively! But they never taught that men must obey what it said. It is used to show principles along with what is right and wrong. To have a better understanding of the Old greatly enhances our understanding of the New. Why not study it more diligently? You’ll be blessed by it.