Why Is The Old Testament Important To Both Jews And Christians?

Essay by LittleBrittleHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2004

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"The Old Testament is first and foremost a collection of religious books, created by faith and addressed to persons who share that faith. Its basic premise is the reality of the living God of creation and history, and its primary aim is to expose the active purpose of God at work within the world" (West, Introduction to the Old Testament, 3).

The Jewish religion is based around the scriptures of the Old Testament, which they call the Tanakh. The Tanakh is made up of the five books of Moses, (the Torah). These books tell the story of their creation, and how people came to be. A lot of important lessons can be learned from these stories. Other books in the Tanakh are the Prophecies, (Nevi'im) which consist of writings which are said to be messages of God, and the Writings (Ketuvim) which are said to be writings by people with the guidance of God.

There are 613 laws in the Old Testament, laws which the Jews are expected to follow strictly. The most important of these are the 10 commandments: 1. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, thou shalt have no other gods before me; 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; 3. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; 4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; 5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long; 6. Thou shalt not kill;...