How seriously should we take the Old Testament? I started in reading the Bible from the beginning shortly after I gave my life to Jesus, but I admit I got bogged down after a while and haven't looked at it since. — T.M.
The whole Bible is God's Word, and every chapter in it has something to teach us about God and His will for our lives. The Bible says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
At the same time, many people who are reading this have probably had the same experience you did: They started reading the Bible from the beginning—and soon gave up. I can't blame them for starting at the beginning; after all, isn't this the way we're supposed to read a book?
But the Bible is something of an exception. Rather than starting at the beginning, I often suggest instead that people begin at the center—and the "center" of the Bible is Jesus Christ, as He is found in the pages of the New Testament. Once you understand who He is and what He has done for you, then the Old Testament will begin to make sense to you. It tells us how God prepared the world for the coming of His Son.
Don't ignore the Old Testament. I suggest you begin with Psalms, the "hymn book" of the Bible; its prayers and songs will speak to your heart. Then branch out to other sections of the Old Testament—for example, studying some of its main characters and how God worked in their lives. You will find Proverbs valuable also, which gives us practical wisdom for daily living.