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5 Stars Out Of 5
A Study On Jesus In 8 Old Testament Books
July 15, 2013
D. A. Carson in his new book, "The Scriptures Testify About Me" published by Crossway explores Jesus and the Gospel in the Old Testament.
From the Back Cover: The Bible's storyline is grand in its sweep, beautiful in its form, and unified in its message. However, many of us still struggle both to understand and to best communicate how the Old and New Testaments fit together, especially in relation to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Eight prominent evangelical pastors and scholars demonstrate what it looks like to preach Christ from the Old Testament in this collection of expositions of various Old Testament texts: Albert Mohler -- Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31-47) Tim Keller -- Getting Out (Exodus 14) Alistair Begg -- From a Foreigner to King Jesus (Ruth) James MacDonald -- When You Don't Know What to Do (Psalm 25) Conrad Mbewe -- The Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 23:1-8) Matt Chandler -- Youth (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8) Mike Bullmore -- God's Great Heart of Love toward His Own (Zephaniah) D. A. Carson -- Getting Excited about Melchizedek (Psalm 110)
From the experience of the Israelites during the exodus, to the cryptic words about Melchizedek in the Psalms, here are 8 helpful examples of successful approaches to preaching the gospel from the Old Testament by some of the most skilled expositors of our day.
There are individuals that believe that Jesus appears for the first time as He is presented in the Gospels and Acts then straight on through Revelation. D. A. Carson has provided us a Bible study that shows us that Jesus is there from the very beginning and in this book works through eight different books. For me this is an exciting study as I was always thrilled when my pastor taught on Jesus represented in "Types and Shadows" in the Old Testament. Now Mr. Carson and seven other authors display Him in eight books of The Bible. "The Scriptures Testify About Me" is not a book that should be rushed through, if you do you will miss all the flavor of these teachings. "The Scriptures Testify About Me" also is not a book that will be read once and then put on the shelf. On the contrary it is a book that will be referred back to over and over again. I liked this book a lot and recommend it highly! I think you will enjoy it as well and give it as gifts to your friends and loved ones. They will enjoy it and always remember you every time they read it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway. 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."
When Christ makes claims about Himself from the Old Testament, do you sit there and think "huh?" If we are honest with ourselves, many of us have a poor understanding of how the Old Testament and the New Testament fit together - we see them as two entirely separate works that just happen to come bound together. But this isn't true. Instead, what we see from the Scriptures as a whole is that they tell one continuous story.
Enter the excellent book The Scriptures Testify About Me edited by D. A. Carson. What this book consists of is a series of eight sermons, seven of which draw from Old Testament passages and one of which provides a fitting introduction to the topic at hand. And what is that topic? Simply this: how do we see the various stories, prophecies, and truths of the Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus Christ and then applied to us? This book does a wonderful job of showing several ways to faithfully answer that question. I found some chapters much more helpful in this work than others, but that's par for the course on any book where each chapter is authored by somebody different. So rather than reviewing each and every chapter, I would like to instead point us to three that I found particularly helpful.
The first is Al Mohler's introductory address, entitled Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus. This is a wide-ranging introduction to the topic of understanding how the New Testament (and Jesus in particular) quotes from and utilizes the Old Testament. Any reader of the Gospels will be challenged often by Jesus' use of Old Testament quotations because Jesus doesn't simply quote wise proverbs to apply to life, but oftentimes brings up what (to our minds) are obscure quotations and then applies them directly to Himself! Mohler does an admirable job of helping us to understand where all of this is coming from and why it matters - or, as he says it: "We must preach Christ from all the Scriptures and find Christ in the gospel of the Old Testament as well as in the New. We need to allow the New Testament to train us how to read the Old. We must put the Bible back into the hands of believers - intact and whole - with Christ and the gospel of our redemption at the center. (p.32)"
Secondly, Tim Keller provides an excellent example of faithful understanding in his chapter Getting Out. This chapter centers on Exodus 14 and drives us to understand the story thematically - God is rescuing His people who are in bondage. For the Israelites, it's from a harsh regime of slavery, for us, it is from our own sin. He then goes on throughout the sermon to show the parallels between the Exodus and salvation. For example: "The Red Sea story is not just about what the Israelites get out of but also about how they get out. (p.43)" And how is it that they get out? Keller points us to two texts. The first is right there in Exodus: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (14:14)." The second is remarkably parallel to the first: "to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness (Romans 4:5)." That is to say, we see God's sovereign act of grace shown as a foil in this well-known Old Testament story and yet made explicitly clear in the New Testament.
A third chapter which I found absolutely fascinating, encouraging, and challenging was D. A. Carson's own contribution Getting Excited About Melchizedek. Yes, that random guy in Genesis 14 who basically appears on the scene and then disappears in one of the stranger stories of the Old Testament. What are we to make of those verses? Why do they matter? Carson takes us to Psalm 110 and then to Hebrews 7, where Melchizedek is mentioned once again. The point? Carson argues (and I would agree) that Melchizedek is introduced on the scene as a pattern or a template. That is to say, it's not that Melchizedek is necessarily some sort of pre-incarnate form of Christ (that could be, though it is not the most likely answer) but that instead Melchizedek sets the scene and the tone for expecting Christ Himself. I love how Carson moves forward to show us that the story doesn't end with us making much of Melchizedek, but that instead Melchizedek points us to Jesus - we are to make much of Christ as our High Priest forever!
To conclude, this is a helpful work which will hopefully cause you (as it did me) to look again to the Scriptures - Old and New Testament - to see the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. If you are looking for an accessible introduction to understanding not only how the Bible comes together but also to how we see Christ even in the Old Testament, then this would be a great place to start.
As a final note, for those who would rather listen to these sermons as opposed to reading them, they are available for free download at The Gospel Coalition website.
(I wish to note that the publisher of this book, Crossway, provided it to me at no cost as a review sample. My review is in no way influenced or controlled by them, nor was it required to be positive, thus I write my review of this book with honesty and integrity.)