Sometimes the Old Testament doesn’t seem applicable. Sometimes it seems outdated. Sometimes it tempts me to skim-read.
The New Covenant is very different from the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant is the one we are living in now. It is all right to spend more time in some passages than others. But even as we read through the Old Testament, we have to keep in mind the following:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
One couldn’t say it better. Even as you look over lists of names and measurements you can learn about God! (E.g. God is specific.)
When you approach every part of Scripture with this mindset and try to connect it all back to the gospel, God will speak to you, and you will even find reminders tucked away in the most difficult books to read.
For example, try reading Jeremiah 3 through 6 without skimming. It’s tough. Sin and destruction, more sin and destruction, and lots of horrible things are recorded. Sadly, Jerusalem refuses to repent.
Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? – Jeremiah 5:29
Jeremiah, like many other prophets in the Bible, describes what we deserve. I skimmed a lot before it clicked in my mind. This is God’s wrath. This is how I should be punished. But I’m not getting God’s wrath. Jesus took on God’s wrath for me, though I am extremely unworthy of His sacrifice.
After realizing this, I read Jeremiah with a different attitude. The more unworthy I see myself, the more grateful I am for how God spared me. Reading Jeremiah gave me a humility that lead to a deep joy.
So keep reading the Old Testament. Pay attention to God’s Word, and the Old Covenant might make you more thankful for the New Covenant. No matter how far back in the Bible you go, it all points to Jesus.