Are Expressions of Worship Just Old Testament?

I have had people tell me that because the Scriptures about clapping your hands, etc., are Old Testament, they are not relevant for today. How should I respond?

When someone says to me, “That’s just Old Testament stuff,” I normally respond by saying, “So?” You see, their point is that the Old Testament is outdated. How was the question phrased, “Not relevant for today”? Hmmm. Let’s think about this.

When Jesus quoted the Scriptures (Take a look at how many times Jesus declared, “It is written…”), from where was He quoting? Wow. It was the Old Testament, wasn’t it? Irrelevant? Out of date? I don’t think so.

The Apostle Paul, the most prolific New Testament author, frequently sites passages of Scripture. From where was he quoting? The Old Testament, of course. If it was really not relevant, why would Jesus and Paul cite it so often?

Further, 2 Timothy 3:16, says, “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” Does this passage say, “Some Scripture is… useful for teaching…”? Does it suggest that only the New Testament passages are useful for teaching? No. “All” means “all.” In fact, when this passage was originally written, the only “Scripture” was what we now refer to as the Old Testament. So when Paul wrote these words to Timothy, he was saying the entire Old Testament was useful for teaching, correcting, etc.

Finally, from a historic perspective, who were the first believers? Jews, of course. Did they just throw away all that they had learned in the past? Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament) but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). The Jewish believers came into the Kingdom of God rejoicing. They didn’t leave behind all that had gone before. Jesus was the completion of all they had known and believed.

Allow me a moment to elaborate a bit. The words “joy” and “rejoice” (the noun and verb forms of the same word) are found 139 times throughout the New Testament. Those words demand expression. Have you ever seen someone say, “I’m excited,” while looking very somber and stoic? Something is wrong with that picture. True excitement demands an expression. In the same way, when Scripture tells us to have joy and to rejoice, those things demand an expression. If someone thinks the Jewish believers discarded their expressive forms of worship to become somber and stoic, those folks are definitely missing the fulfillment that Jesus brought to His people.