Divisions of the Bible
For practical purposes, Bible history can be divided into three main Periods or Ages - the Patriarchal Age, the Mosaic Age and the Christian Age as illustrated in the diagram above.
The Patriarchal Age designates the period in which God ruled through the Patriarchs. A patriarch is simply the father or head of a family. God first taught His people by talking with the fathers in each family and they in turn, will teach the rest of the family.
The Mosaic Age began when God chose to lead His people through a man called Moses. God gave Moses the law (law of Moses or Old Law) and Moses taught the people.
The Christian Age is the period in which we are now living. Our present age of Bible history began after the death of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:15-17). Jesus was born near the close of the Mosaic Age and was subject to the law of Moses. However, when Christ was crucified, the law of Moses was fulfilled. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). “then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9).
Most of us have some knowledge of the Bible. We know that there is an Old Testament and a New Testament. A Testament means a will, an agreement or a covenant. Usually when something is old, it is no longer useful. It has fulfilled its purpose (Hebrews 8:13). This is true with the Old Testament. It has served its purpose according to Galatians 3:24 and Colossians 2:14.
OLD TESTAMENT NEW TESTAMENT
Law of Moses Gospel of Christ
(Ended at the cross) (Went into effect
Colossians 2:13-14 at the cross)
Ephesians 2:13-16 Hebrews 9:15-17
Although the Old Testament is good for our learning (Romans 15:4), we are not expected to follow it in the present age. God expects us to be obedient to Jesus Christ. The Son of God “is the Mediator of a better covenant which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6). The people under the Old Testament had to offer animal sacrifices as an atonement (sin offering) for their sins. Today, we are not to do this because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for all mankind (Hebrews 9:12). Thus, Christ took away the law of Moses and gave us a better law.
Perhaps this example will help us to understand the difference between the Old and New Testaments. A man has a large sum of money and much land. He makes a will in order to divide this among his children when he dies. After this will is made, he adopts several more children. If he were to die, these children will receive nothing. He realizes this, so he makes a new will to include these children also. The old will is still there but it is of no good. The will, which was drawn up last, is the one that will be honoured at the man’s death.
The same is true with the Old and New Testaments. The Old was made, then was taken away at the death of Christ (Colossians 2:14) and the New Testament then came into effect (Hebrews 10:9) in which we now live under.
In Lesson 3, we will study the first period of Bible history, the Patriarchal Age.
Fill in the blanks
Bible history can be divided into __________ main ages. They are the __________, __________ Age.
Christ lived under the __________ Age and was subject to the Law of __________.
The Old Testament is good for our __________. Give the scripture where we can find this: __________
A Testament is a __________, __________ or __________.
The Son of God is the __________ of a better covenant, established on better __________ (Hebrews 8:6).
True or False
A Patriarch is a farmer
We are now living under the law of Moses
The Old Testament has served its purposes
When a new will is made, the old will is of no good any more
According to the New Testament, the Christian is expected to offer animal sacrifices
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