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The Old Testament is about far more than laws (as important as those laws nevertheless are in learning God's requirements and standards for human behavior). I would say that reading the Old Testament is necessary to answer basic questions about the nature of God and the nature of humanity that could be gained only by divine revelation, and to be able to appreciate and understand the context in which the events of the New Testament occurred. In particular, the following facts or concepts discussed in the Old Testament are essential to such an understanding: 1) the existence and nature of God (three divine Persons existing in one Being; holy; eternal; omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent); 2) the manner in which the universe was created; 3) the origin of life; 4) the uniqueness of humans, and the purpose for which they were created; 5) the origin and reality of sin, and its effect on humanity and the universe (death, corruption, the unattainability of sinless perfection and acceptability to God through human effort); 6) God's plan for dealing with sin; 7) the progressive history of the nation of people through whom God chose to send a Redeemer who would be God incarnate, and who would destroy the power of sin, and allow humans to live eternally with God; 8) God's standards for human civil and religious conduct (as mentioned earlier); 8) inspired prophecies of future events that, through their fulfillment, would verify God's knowledge of and control over the course of history, and would allow the identification of the Redeemer when He appeared, so that not just any impostor could claim to be that Redeemer. Knowing these concepts prepares readers of the New Testament to fully appreciate the love and mercy shown by God in the redemption that Jesus made possible by His sinless life, atoning death and resurrection, and to understand why those events were crucial to our salvation.
The simple answer comes from St Augustine: "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." Without the OT you cannot understand the NT. Without the OT the NT makes no sense. Indeed, without the OT even the death and resurrection are meaningless events. It should also be noted that the laws of the OT are still relevant to us, for when looking at the laws of the OT, we learn what is at the heart of what God desires in how we live. The moral law provided in the OT is teaches us virtue from vice.
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