The key to understanding the Bible is understanding its context. The Old and New Testaments can seem totally unrelated at first glance. It may also seem that the Bible, like any other world religion, is conveying a set of moral attributes people are expected to live up to in order to please God and gain His favor. When read with the context in mind, the Bible reveals the redemptive plan of God.
Jesus is the context. In Luke 24, Jesus is speaking to two depressed disciples after His execution and resurrection: Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27 NKJV)
Again we read: Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (Luke 24:44-46 NKJV)
Notice that Jesus expounded how all the scriptures — the Law, the prophets, and the Psalms — spoke of Him. In John 5:39, Jesus speaks to religious people, saying, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40 NKJV) The Scriptures, all of them, testify of the Christ
If you read a passage and do not discover in it the redemptive work of Christ in His birth, death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and imminent return, you do not have a correct understanding of the passage
The Old Testament reveals the effort of God to redeem fallen mankind by convincing them that they are fundamentally flawed and in need of a heart transformation It records man’s unceasing insistence that he can redeem himself through his own efforts. It reveals God’s antidote for sin in the suffering servant, the Messiah.
If you read the Bible as a list of rules to follow, you will find frustration. If it is read as the story of God’s loving effort to redeem you, you will find salvation.