Old Testament Research Paper Writing
Old Testament research paper due and don’t know how to begin researching for it? Here is Paper Masters’ suggestion for researching Old Testament theology:
The Old Testament is considered by many an obsolete compilation of biblical history that has little bearing on Christianity today. A dedicated study of the Old Testament however would prove that this opinion is largely unfounded. You may want to emphasize in your Old Testament research paper that it presents a fertile groundwork for any researcher or student attempting to understand and explicate God’s plan for His people, both Jew and Gentile. Although it deals predominantly with old laws and covenants, its content has significant bearing on the context of the New Testament. As such, it also has significant application to the lives of Christians today.
There are many parallels in the events and personalities of the Old Testament and those exhibited today, which reinforces the importance of the Old Testament as a guide for contemporary living. Despite the backdrop of an ancient setting, the people of the Old Testament, their problems and triumphs as well as their spiritual aspirations, are not very unlike those of modern man. Similarly, the implications of Old Testament principles and teachings can be applied for both.
A prime example can be found in the likeness of man’s sin and its penalty demonstrated in positions of power, particularly in the sexual transgressions exhibited by King David and those of former President Bill Clinton. Although II Samuel deals predominantly with the power and authority demonstrated in the consolidation of all of Israel under David, it also reveals the human weaknesses of man regardless of position.
The Old Testament and Research Today
The books of the bible that relate to Samuel, specifically II Samuel, reveals King David’s desire for the wife of another man (II Samuel 11), Bathsheba, and the activities he would resort to in order to have her, which included murder (II Samuel 11). As reprehensible as David’s behavior was, his faithfulness and ultimate repentance to God was returned with the faithfulness of God’s forgiveness and he continued to serve the Lord until his death. As for the similar sexual transgression demonstrated by Bill Clinton, one can never know whether he had a sincerely contrite heart and asked for God’s forgiveness, however it is clear that his behavior may have played a significant role in the Democratic Party’s failure to secure another term in Presidency. At the same time, it had a profound effect on the moral fabric of American society.
On a similar vein, the importance of national obedience to God is also demonstrated in the Old Testament, which is replete with examples of the nation of Israel’s failure to abide with God. In spite of their deliverance by God from the hand of Egypt (Exodus 14), the Israelites would several times demonstrate their loss of faith in God when things were not going as they had expected or when their desire for signs that God was with them were not offered. For example, when Moses had ascended Mount Sinai and failed to return in a timely manner, the Israelites hastily fashioned an idol and offered sacrifices to it (Exodus 32). Although God plagued the people of Israel for their sin (Exodus 32:35), He still promised them deliverance from their enemies (Exodus 33:2). The Israelites responded with repentance by stripping themselves of the ornaments of pagan worship. (Exodus 33:5) The behavior of the Israelites at the foot of Sinai is not unlike the futility demonstrated by a contemporary society that has lost sight of or faith in God’s promises. Even further, it is often not until the ramifications of contemporary society’s sinful nature are played out that the confidence of embracing God’s faithfulness becomes significant.
The Relevance of Old Testament Research Paper Topics Today
While the new covenant revealed in the New Testament is accompanied by new principles for leading a Christian life, many of the principles revealed in the Old Testament are applicable even today. Clearly, the principles laid out in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) would appear to be the most frequently embraced by believers and non-believers alike. There are few that would argue the applicability of tenets such as “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal”. Nevertheless, the principles “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Honor thy mother and thy father” bear just as much significance today, despite the proclivity of believers and non-believers to give them less consideration or heed. Even more, the disregard for the command that “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is evidenced in the proliferation of divers religions around the world.
Consider also the laws ascribed in Leviticus. Although many of those laws, such as the mandate of blood sacrifice and the exclusionary rules of the temple have been erased by the new covenant, there are many that, when applied to contemporary life, can facilitate an even closer adherence to Christ-like behavior today. Even more, they can offer a defense from many of the social afflictions that are evidenced today.
Leviticus speaks of the penalty of retribution for the sin of deceit or violence against a neighbor (Leviticus 6), which is not unlike the penalties exacted in the contemporary justice system. Although modern examples of retribution are not followed by a sin offering made to God by the guilty party, reparations to the injured party are frequently required. And, while it is not mandated by the laws of men, a contrite repentance before God would clearly follow the example found in Leviticus.
The book of Leviticus also defines the customs of marital and sexual behavior, which although they are often ignored in modern society, formed the basis productive and righteous living in the Old Testament. The Israelites were strictly commanded not to form a sexual association with certain kinsmen, married neighbors or with beasts. (Leviticus 18) The abomination that such associations represented to God during Old Testament times are just as abhorrent to God in modern times.
The Impact of the Old Testament Research on Modern Life
Aside from the guiding principles and the parallel in events and personalities that can be derived from the Old Testament, a dedicated study of its books can effect a major impact on modern life. Most importantly, in a world where social and national disharmony and decay has become commonplace, it can provide a peace that comes only from understanding the faithfulness that God has demonstrated to His people.
For example, the book of Job offers a biography of a life that is filled with the hardships, temptations and despair that many people are well acquainted with today. Although Job was a man of wealth and character, his fidelity to God was challenged by numerous afflictions including poor health and the loss of his children and property. (Job, 1-3) The truth that man’s afflictions are the result of sin is pointed to in many chapters of the book (Job 5, 20, 34) and, although Job protests his integrity throughout (Job 6, 9, 23), his final submission to God (Job 42) results in his restoration.
The example of Job’s hardships and his inclination to challenge the penalties of sin are not unlike the circumstances and character of man today. Therefore, an understanding of Job’s experience and, most importantly, his ultimate submission to God has applications for us even today.
Similarly, the unrewarding consequence of man’s pursuit of earthly goals is revealed in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s recollection of his search for contentment and satisfaction in the pleasures of life rather than in the pursuit of a relationship with God should be sharply familiar to many people in today’s society. Solomon ultimately determines that fearing God and keeping His commandments offers far better results (Ecclesiastes 12) than what the world can offer, a truth that can be realized even today.
The books of the Old Testament research paper is not an accident. Rather, their conservation is a clear indication that what is revealed in them should have as much significance today as it did when the events that are detailed in them actually occurred. In essence, one can never fully understand the roles, responsibilities and promises of Christian life without them. Contemporary Christians therefore have not only the reward of the doctrines of Christ presented in the New Testament but also the manifestation of God’s faithfulness found in the Old Testament.