Sometimes the Old Testament is ignored in churches. We forget that the Jews are the olive tree that Christians are grafted into. We forget that Jesus was a Jew and followed Jewish customs.
Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, who read from the Jewish Bible (i.e. Old Testament-O.T.), in Jewish synagogues, to a mostly Jewish audience. The New Testament cannot stand alone from the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Jewish prophecies about the Messiah. Jesus quoted the Old Testament scripture and prayed verses from the Psalms. Flip through your New Testament and note all the Old Testament references cited at the bottom.
But Liz, the O.T. is outdated and we don't have to obey its laws. Is that actually accurate? God released us from dietary restrictions, but are we released from the law? Jesus came to fulfill, not abolish, the law. But Paul wrote on freedom from the law. If I understand his writings correctly, we don't *have* to follow the law, because we have salvation, but we ought to *want* to follow the law, out of love.
30 of the 39 O.T. books are quoted in the N.T. And now I'm thinking of a footnote scavenger hunt where people are instructed to check off O.T. verses quoted in N.T. (Also, this handy dandy chart at this site with the one chart shows that 16 of the 27 N.T. books quote the O.T.) Ruth is mentioned by default (in Jesus´ genealogy), but Joshua, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Ezra, Lamentations, Obadiah, and Zephaniah aren´t quoted directly.
Some things can only be seen clearly through the lens of the O.T. Like Passover. Jesus and his disciples were eating Passover on the night he was betrayed. The same Passover mandated to Moses by God in Egypt.
So what's my point? The O.T. still is relevant to Christians. The O.T. adds depth to our faith. It shows God working throughout history. It gives Jesus' life a context. It can explain some confusing things about the N.T. Both should be studied and taught regularly.
In the Messianic synagogue I sometimes attend, each week, part of the Torah (1st 5 books), Prophets, Psalms, and N.T. are read and a sermon is given weaving the passages together. It's a thing of beauty and challenges my understanding of God.
Article on The Importance of the O.T.
Article on the Relevance of the O.T.
O.T. and N.T. connection article