Today the Church commemorates the Hieromartyr Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons who was martyred in 202AD. Below is a quote from St Irenæus in which he describes what can be found in the Tanakh, the Jewish scriptures which Christians call the Old Testament. It gives a sense of why the Hebrew scriptures are important to Christians who aren’t Jewish:
‘In these books, then, of the prophets, we found Jesus our Christ foretold as coming, born of a virgin, growing up to man’s estate, and healing every disease and every sickness and raising the dead, and being hated and unrecognized, and crucified in dying, and rising again and ascending into heaven, and being and being-called the Son of God, and certain persons being sent by Him to every race of men proclaiming these things, and men from among the Gentiles, rather [than the Jews], believing in him.’ (First Apology 31:7).
Orthodox scholar John Behr comments on the words of St Irenæus and how he sums up the message of the Apostles:
That the apostolic preaching is nothing other than the various predictions made by the prophets, proclaimed as having been realized in Jesus Christ, means that, on the one hand, the apostolic preaching is both the key to understanding the Old Testament and the confirmation of its fulfillment, while, on the other hand, it is the Old Testament which shapes the whole of the Christian revelation itself. (ON THE APOSTOLIC PREACHING, pp 12-13)