Usually when someone is looking for a good book on the life of Jesus Christ, they either select one written from a historical position, or one from a theological perspective.
Now you have a new option: a "theography."
"Jesus - A Theography" is the latest book by co-authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola (published by Thomas Nelson) which examines the life of Christ from both historical and theological perspectives.
Many biographies of Jesus open with that familiar setting of a stable in Bethlehem. From a theological perspective, some start in the pristine Garden described in Genesis. But the true biography of Jesus must begin before there was a beginning, which is where Sweet and Viola take us as a starting point.
From pre-creation, this talented writing duo begin in earnest to show how Jesus Christ is the center of all scripture, not just the New Testament. Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!" (John 5:39 NLT), and the writers do a scholarly job of showing how all of scripture does, indeed, point to Jesus.
The scholarship of this book isn't just for scholars, although serious students of the Bible will enjoy this edition that comes replete with a sizeable notes section. Readers who are younger in the faith and newer to the Bible can find this book readable, understandable, and insightful; however, the content will sometimes require a little slower reading for processing and digesting than the simplistic topical books that are so common today.
"Jesus - A Theography" does a masterful job of revealing to us Christ in all of scripture, thus deepening our view and understanding of Jesus. If you want a deeper knowledge of Christ from a significant study from scripture as a whole, this volume by Sweet and Viola could be the perfect pairing with several cups of coffee and an open Bible.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
There are some Christians who forget (or do not know) that Jesus was first and foremost a Jew. Even fewer probably are aware that Jesus was with God "in the beginning". It's not enough for Christians to only read the New Testament (what the authors call the "Second Testament") to know who Jesus was. It is equally important to their faith to read the Old Testament (what the authors call the "First Testament")." Consequently, if you read Scripture in a way that doesn't point to Christ, you don't have Christianity; you have a religion".
The authors tell the story of Jesus from beginning, Genesis, to the end, Revelation. "All the books of that canon [the Bible] contribute to the plotline of God's covenantal relationship with humanity through Jesus".
What I found so remarkable about this book is that not only did the authors show me how Jesus was in the First Testament, but that they did it in layman's terms. One does not have to be a seminary student or graduate to understand this book.
The story is also a love story for us. Not only a love story between God and His Son, but between God and His Creation. God wanted us humans to know Him better through His Son and His Son through the Holy Spirit as recorded in His Word, the Bible. It is also an account of God's plan for His Creation. His way of communication to us is through His Word.
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of who Jesus was through my studying of the First (Old) Testament. One of the things I learned from this book is how God tells us about Jesus in the Creation story. Briefly, Day One: His birth, God created light; Jesus is referred to as "the light"; Day Two: His death, the separation of what is above and what is below; separation from the world (beneath) and the things of God (above), we are to die to those things of the world. Day Three: His resurrection, God gathered the waters together and the dry land together, land produced fruit on the third day, the first signs of life. Three is the number of resurrection: Jesus was resurrected on the third day. Day Four: His Ascension, God created the sun (Jesus was the embodiment of God's light), moon is the embodiment of the church. Fourth day Jesus ascension. Day Five: His Indwelling Life, God created birds and fish, higher life forms the result of more light. Christian symbols: fish, dove for Holy Spirit. Day Six: His Rule, God created man in His image, Adam, first man, Jesus, second Adam; just as God gave Adam rule and authority over the whole earth, so did He give Jesus rule and authority over the whole earth. Day Seven, His rest, the Sabbath. Jesus Christ is the rest of God. "It is finished", John 19:30.
This is just one example of how the First (Old) Testament speaks of Jesus, and only a brief summation. There is so much good information in this book, it's hard to reduce it. It is far better to read the book instead of taking this short review. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants the know more about how Jesus was with God in the beginning and how Jesus fulfilled God's plan for His Creation.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers Blogger Review 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 FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This book was written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. It is a long read but worth the time spent.
This book tells of the wondrous life of Jesus. It tells of his life before time and it continues with Genesis and goes on to Revelation and into the future.
This book is the first ever written to combine historical Jesus studies with biblical theology. It is attention holding and very informative whether you are an average reader or a bible scholar. It goes in-depth to teach us of the life of Jesus in a format that is inviting, detailed and intriguing.
It is a refreshing change to the usual books written about Jesus that doesn't connect the Old and the New Testament together. This book is allows one to view Jesus in a whole new light.
I would recommend that it be purchased and added to anyone's library who is interested in the life of Jesus and biblical learning in general.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html>: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola and The Thomas Nelson Publishing Company deserve a well thought out, professional sounding review of their book 'JESUS, a Theography'. My heart, however, simply wants to yell out, "Read this book! It is SO GOOD! It is SO important to read this!" As I read through the text I frequently felt as if the wind was being knocked out of me because the revelations were that dramatic! Before I finished reading it I had already ordered two copies to share with others.
This book offers deep insight into the person of Jesus as God, Creator and, most significantly to me, as the man He fully was while on earth. It reveals the way the entire bible breathes the story of our living redeemer.
In the first chapter we see where Jesus was, in regard to creation, and how the process of creation itself speaks about Christ through metaphor, analogy and typology. Subsequent chapters go on to explain the exhaustive symbolism in the first testament and how everything in history reveals the person and character of Jesus.
Sweet and Viola explain numerous portions of scripture through indepth views of the Jewish culture. For instance, there is good reason why it was to shepherds of Bethlehem that the angels appeared with the news of Christ's birth.
Every aspect of the life of Jesus is examined and discussed in this book. The last chapter addresses Jesus' growing awareness of His Messiahship and how He has been revealed through the scriptures. Jesus is the new David, the new Adam, the new Moses, Joseph and Isaac. 'The Bible is the narrative of Jesus - the Christ, the Savior, the living Lord, and our All.'
I strongly recommend this book to everyone who wants to expand their knowledge of Jesus and deepen their relationship with Him. I am in awe of my love for Him because of what I have gained by reading this precious work.
Jesus: A Theography by Len Sweet and Frank Viola is one of those books you want to read again, because there is so much to process. It's an excellent book that is bound to make you think deeply. Though written for the 'average' person, it still contains much deep, rich material and thoughts.
As he states in the introduction, this book sets out to show that ALL the Bible is meant to reflect and point to Christ.
"Let's face it. The Bible is often viewed as a disjointed array of stories, events, laws, propositions, truths, ethical statements, and moral lessons.
But we will demonstrate in this book, the sixty-six books of the Bible are woven together by a single storyline. Of of the best ways to look at the twenty-seven books of the New Testament may be to see them as a commentary on the Old Testament. The entire Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are unified by a common narrative. And once our eyes are open to see that narrative, everything in both Testaments gels into a coherent, understandable, and amazing story.
And what is that story? Well, it's not enough to call it "salvation history" as many people do.
No. It's the story of Jesus Christ.
The end product of biblical Christianity is a person -- not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics -- but one person in two natures (diving/human) with four ministries (prophet/priest/king/sage) and four biographies (The Gospels). But those four biographies don't tell the whole story. Every bit of Scripture if part of the same great story of that one person and that one story's plotline of creation, revelation, redemption and consummation."
If you are a fan of Frank Viola or Len Sweet you'll love this book. I recommend it.