“The scriptures” when referred to in the New Testament, refer to the use of the ‘Old Testament’ in the preaching of the message of Christ. It is rather disappointing that so many Christians today only read the New Testament and sometimes have a Bible that omits most or all of the Old Testament.

In Acts 18 there is a powerful preacher, “a Jew named Apollos … an eloquent man, competent in the scriptures” (18:24) who, when he came to Achaia, “greatly helped those who through grace had believed, he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus” (verses 27,28).

We add strength to our understanding and preaching when we gain a good knowledge of the Old Testament. We notice how often it is quoted in their preaching and writing – as a stimulus to the first generation of believers. We notice how many times passages in Deuteronomy are quoted – Jesus quoted from it when refuting the temptations that came to him when the Spirit led him into the wilderness.

We are also reading the Song of Solomon, a largely poetic parable that can be applied to the bride of Christ awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom (3:6,7) and how the bride, made up of genuine believers, should make themselves spiritually beautiful in his eyes.

Chapter 4 starts with the bridegroom saying “Behold you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful” – and we can interpret the description of the physical beauty as applying to aspects of character that Christ will embrace when he returns. Paul’s words to the Philippians are very appropriate; “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure … that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights … holding fast to the word of life” (2:13,15,16). How much are you shining and “holding fast”? What are you “showing by the scriptures”?