The Two Covenants

By Royce Frederick

“What are the differences between the teachings of Old Testament and the teachings of New Testament?”

--R. K. R., Kerala, India

The basic meaning of the word “testament” in the Bible is “covenant” or “contract.”

The first 39 books of the Bible are commonly called The Old Testament. The first book of the 39 books teaches us about God creating the world, man’s early history, and the beginning of the nation of Israel. The remaining 38 books of the Old Testament primarily teach us about God’s COVENANT with the nation of Israel, and about Israel’s history during the time of that first covenant.

The last 27 books of the Bible are commonly called the New Testament. The first four of these books teach us about the birth and earthly work of Jesus Christ. He revealed the NEW COVENANT, which is God's covenant for people of all nations today. The remaining 23 books of the New Testament teach us about people obeying the gospel and living according to the new covenant.

There are many differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The following comparison can help us see some of the differences.


It was made with Israel only (Deuteronomy 5:1-4; Ephesians 2:11-12).

Its mediator was Moses (Galatians 3:19; John 1:17).

It was dedicated with the blood of animals (Hebrews 9:18-20).

It ended as God’s law for His people when Jesus died on the cross (Colossians 2:14; Galatians 3:24-25).

Its commandments were “a yoke of bondage” upon the necks of the Jews (Galatians 5:1; Acts 15:10).

It promised the fruitful land of Canaan as Israel’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 5:33; 1 Kings 8:56).


It is for people of all nations (Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 3:28).

Its mediator is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:15).

It was dedicated with the blood of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:18-20).

It began as God’s law for His people after Jesus died on the cross (Hebrews 9:15-17).

Its teachings are the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25; John 8:31-32).

It promises an eternal inheritance in heaven for Christians who remain faithful (1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 2:10).