How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture by Michael Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love this book! I copied the chapter on Exodus and gave it to my students at the Christian school where I teach. Michael Williams goes through each book of the Bible, and somehow manages to capture how Christ fulfills the central themes of each book. But, this is no mammoth scholarly tome. This is an immensely practical book, and each chapter ends with “hook questions” that help to apply the Christological implications of each book in the Bible to our lives.
This book is designed to help students of the Bible recognize the broad theme of each Biblical book and see how it is fulfilled in Christ. Below the title of each chapter is a phrase which summarizes the theme of the Biblical book. For instance, under “Exodus” we find “Deliverance into Presence.” After an introductory paragraph, which outlines the historical background of the book. Then, we find the theme of Exodus: “God delivers his people from slavery into his presence.” After a paragraph summarizing the highlights of Exodus, we find a memory verse: Ex. 29:46. Williams has selected memory passages from each book which both epitomize the Biblical book, and are ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Williams typically follows the memory verse with a paragraph discussing the spiritual significance and themes of the Biblical book under consideration. Then, we get to Jesus, with “The Jesus Lens” section. Williams shows how Christ fulfills the themes of the books, resolves tensions, answers questions, and provides additional meaning. At this point, we can marvel at the intricate story that God has been writing throughout redemptive history. Williams then moves into pastoral theology, showing how our salvation and spiritual struggles follow the same patterns as the Old Testament narratives.
All good theology must be applied, and so Williams ends each chapter with “Contemporary Implications,” relating Biblical themes to our world and our experience. Lastly, Williams provides a few “Hook Questions” which bring these great truths and themes to an intensely personal level. These questions reveal much about our own sinfulness, and how much we fail to live out the grand story that God has written for us. But, Williams ends with a paragraph of pastoral encouragement, reminding us of God’s faithfulness and abiding love.
Although each chapter is short, I believe this book should be part of every pastor’s, teacher’s, and Christian’s, library. I say this because I have found that many Christians have no idea how the Old Testament applies to us now (especially the youth I’ve taught over the years). Williams’ book should help fill this lacuna in the contemporary Church.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.)
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