Many Christians struggle to read the Old Testament. On the surface, it seems like a long string of unconnected stories with some genealogies sprinkled in. Add to that laws that seem to have very little to do with life in the 21st century. It is easy to see why Christians would look at the Old Testament, then look at the New Testament and wonder what the two had to do with each other.
Enter David Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, with his new book Jesus On Every Page. He confesses that he often struggled as a young man with how he should read the Old Testament. In the Baptist church in which he grew up, they often heard Old Testament narratives in Sunday School, but rarely from the pulpit. He says that the Old Testament preaching that he did hear often had more in common with a historical lecture than a sermon. It was only after he had been hired to teach the Old Testament that he finally began to see how the Old Testament testifies to Jesus and speaks to Christians where they are right now. His goal in Jesus on Every Page is to fill in a gap of resources that gives ordinary Christians “sound principles and practical help for the average Christian who wants to explore this important way of knowing Jesus through His Word.”
There are two major sections in Jesus on Every Page. The first deals with the author’s own road to seeing Jesus throughout the Old Testament. He recounts his own story and shares the New Testament author’s perspective on Jesus in the Old Testament. He walks through the answers that Jesus, Paul, John, and Peter give to the question, “what is the Old Testament all about?” Their answers are not surprising, but the mass of New Testament evidence for how Christians should read the Old Testament is overwhelming. To a man, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all demonstrate the the entirety of the Old Testament points us to the person and work of Jesus. If this is the way that they saw the Old Testament, then it should become determinative for us as well.
The second half of Jesus on Every Page gives ten strategies for seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. While they are not broken up this way in the book, I think they can be categorized under two divisions. The first is seeing Jesus in the broad categories of Old Testament Genre. Murray discusses how the Christian can see Jesus in the Old Testament history books and in the Prophetic Books. He also takes smaller portions of the Old Testament and demonstrates the principle from the books of Psalms and Proverbs, as well as the creation narrative and the Law. Under a second heading, Murray helps Christians understand how to see Jesus in what could be called Old Testament phenomena that occur across all genres. In this examines the Old Testament types, appearances, characters, and covenants.
Jesus on Every Page fills a needed gap in Christian literature. As the author points out at the beginning, many works have been written to help pastors understand how to preach Jesus from the Old Testament, but few have been written to help Christians understand how to read the Old Testament in light of who Jesus is. I cannot think of another work that does what Murray’s work does. Additionally, Murray fills this gap in a way that is both helpful and accessible. A person who does not much about the Bible can pick up Jesus on Every Page and will understand most of what he writes about. In addition, it would help give them a framework for understanding what is going on in most of the significant sections of the Old Testament.
I encourage you to pick up Jesus on Every Page. It will help to increase your understanding of the Old Testament and how to see Jesus as you read it. This book will help to strengthen your understanding of Scripture, your knowledge of who God is, and your daily walk with him.
If you purchase Jesus on Every Page before August 31st, you can also pick up over $100 worth of resources that will increase your understanding of the Old Testament. You can find more details here.
(You can read other book reviews and takeaways here.)
Don’t Be Ashamed of the Old Testament and Paul