The relationship between the Old and the New Testament

To understand the Holy Scriptures, it is necessary to have this view of unity between the Old and New Testaments

The Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum , on divine revelation in the Holy Scriptures, teaches us that God, the inspirer and author of the books of the Testaments, so wisely arranged things that the New Testament is latent in the Old, and the Old is evident in the New.

This indicates that there is a living relationship between the Old and the New Testament. And that is also why we sometimes find words or expressions in the Bible that seem to be loose, meaningless in that text. At that time, it is necessary to understand that there is a connection between the texts and be aware of the semantic field to which these words and expressions may belong.

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But what is semantic field? It is a group of words that are related to each other, because they are linked by the meaning they represent. For example, when we say a group of words like: fine, traffic light, pedestrians, we will know that these words are part of the semantic field of traffic, because they are related and acquire meaning.

The connection between the texts happens, because many expressions, in a given culture, have a specific meaning that, in general, are not understood by people from another cultural environment. For example: in Minas Gerais (MG), if you say the word train, a miner will understand that this word is used to refer to various things and not just the means of transport with locomotives and wagons. If a foreigner arrives in Minas and does not know the local culture, he will hardly understand the wide use that this word has in this region of Brazil.

In the same way it happens with the biblical texts that have these so-called linguistic traditions. Sometimes, to understand a passage, we need to turn to another biblical book, another text in which we will have an explanation of some word, passage or expression that we do not understand. This connection between biblical books makes the author of a text use previous knowledge that has already been mentioned in another book and, therefore, the total understanding of one passage depends on another.

How to identify and understand these traditions and literary connections in the Bible? Our translations, in general, enable us to find these passages that relate and explain the text we are reading. In some Bibles, these references are on the side of the page, in small letters, indicating other biblical passages. In other translations, these references are in the footnote.

Read more:
.: Why read the Bible?
.: How to read the Bible?
.: What is the purpose of the Bible?

You can also consult a Key or Biblical Agreement. These are books that have certain words and in which places they appear in the Word of God. You can purchase these works or, in a more practical way, check if at the end of your Bible there is a kind of biblical glossary that often brings the word to be explained, along with some passages in which that same word is found.

To understand the Holy Scriptures, it is necessary to have this view of unity between the Old and New Testaments. Knowing this, the Church directs that our translations give us this apparatus to better understand the Bible.

In conclusion, I complete the quote that opened this article on the unity of both Testaments, because, although Christ founded the New Covenant on his blood (cf. Lk 22,20; 1 Cor 11,25), the books of the Old Testament , when they are fully assumed in the evangelical preaching, they acquire and manifest their full significance in the New Testament (cf. Mt 5,17; Lk 24,27; Rm 16,25-26; 2 Cor 3,14-16), which by in turn illuminate and explain it.


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