As a pastor I spend most of my money on books I want to read and reference. But I'm always on the lookout for solid books that are geared for those without a theological education. It's too rare to find a book that can be of significant value for both, like Jesus On Every Page (book website). This is a helpful resource.
Dr. David Murray, president of HeadHeartHand, is the Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He live in Grand Rapids with his wife, Shona, and four children.
At just about 200 pages (plus study questions, and the very helpful Scripture and Subject indexes) Dr. Murray gives us an accessible and simple book on seeing Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament. I very much enjoyed the first four chapters where Murray explains how he went from someone who saw the Old Testament as a bit of an embarrassment who used the New Testament to bring contrast and relief to discovering Jesus everywhere in the OT. He talks about finding direction to read the OT this way from Jesus, Peter, Paul and John in the New Testament. I think there are many in our churches who need to take this journey with Dr. Murray.
As a pastor who preaches from the Old Testament somewhat regularly, I recognized myself in David's journey as well. In some ways I still struggle. I feel a lot better about preaching from the New Testament than the Old. I need this reminder too. David quotes a gem from Gleason Archer, a wonderful and eye-opening statement:
How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the 39 books of Holy Scripture on which Jesus and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?
Provocative. I'm encouraged to dig in and help my people dig in to the OT. Here's the outline of the main section of the book. Murray gives us 10 ways we can find Jesus in the Old Testament:
- Christ's Planet (Jesus in Creation)
- Christ's People (Jesus in OT Characters)
- Christ's Presence (Jesus in OT Appearances)
- Christ's Precepts (Jesus in OT Law)
- Christ's Past (Jesus in OT History)
- Christ's Prophets
- Christ's Pictures (Jesus in OT Types)
- Christ's Promises (Jesus in OT Covenants)
- Christ's Proverbs
- Christ's Poets
Throughout these chapters you find an abundance of insights, lists, points, word pictures, etc. He covers the OT broadly, but in more detail than you might think. You don't make your way through these chapters thinking that Dr. Murray is a top-notch scholar, though he obviously is. You read realizing Dr. Murray is speaking of the King and Savior he knows deeply and devotionally. And reading Jesus On Every Page should be a devotional experience for the reader.
Tim Challies explains this book well by writing that David Murray "focuses less on the stories and more on the story; less on the heroes and more on the Hero." If you want an introduction to each book of the Old Testament, a theology of the Old Testament, or something else, you need to look elsewhere for other excellent books. The real strengths of this book are its big picture view of the Old Testament and the accessibility of this book for all Christians and not just scholars or pastors.
Another way to look at Jesus On Every Page is as an introduction to Christology. It's not quite marketed that way, but it works. It works well. It's will serve as an introduction to Jesus in a way many haven't seen. Good on Dr. Murray for offering it to us.
I recommend Jesus On Every Page. The cover alone made me want the book! And the content was just what I hoped it would be. How many of our people will have so much of Scripture "unlocked" beyond the moralistic OT teaching they've heard or the assumptions they have of the OT through this book? Get your copy, and give some away. It's a resource I'm glad to keep on my shelf for future reference and to encourage my church to pick up. Here's where you can get yours: Amazon | Kindle | WTS.
I'm also offering a free copy of Jesus On Every Page to my readers. Simple.
1. Tweet or share on Facebook --> Check out the new book from David Murray, Jesus On Every Page http://bit.ly/Xeverypg <-- and then...
2. Comment below (be sure to input your real name and email so I can notify a winner) with your favorite OT book and why (keep it short). I'll use random.org to choose a winner from the comments below after the weekend.