I have been waiting for a book like this to be written for a long time. In 1999 in a Doctor of Ministry course at Westminster Theological Seminary I was convicted and convinced that all Bible study, teaching, counseling, discipleship, and preaching must be done with Christ at the center of it all, if it’s to be deemed “Christian.” Jesus Himself said, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them the things concerning himself” in Luke 24:27 on the road to Emmaus. Ever since that time I have sought to read resources that would help me understand and interpret the Scriptures in light of the fact that all of the Scriptures – according to Jesus – are about Him. Yet, the mind-blowing thing to me is how few preachers and Bible teachers ever even get to Christ – unless he is a “tag on” at the end of a lesson or sermon (if that).
I am really excited about this book. Michael Williams has written an easy to read guide that is focused on how to read the Scriptures with a focus on Jesus. In 62 short chapters (about 4-6 pages per chapter) Williams covers the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In each chapter there is an introduction to all the Scriptures showing the historical redemptive development that leads us to Jesus. He then gives a short theme for each book. Each chapter has a Scripture memory passage, followed by “the Jesus lens” section, and then contemporary implications from the book discussed, and “hook questions.”
The back of the book has a helpful series of charts containing five sections of each book of the Bible with a title for each book, the theme, the Christ-focus of the book, the implications, and the key questions that “hook” you. I am going to make it one of my goals to memorize the charts, along with the memory verses for each book of the Bible by putting them on flash cards. I will be consulting this book regularly and can already say with almost absolute certainty that this will be in my top ten for 2012 (of the 150 books I will read and review this year).
Thank you Michael Williams for your gift to everyone who has been waiting for a book like this: a book that answers what the key theme of each book of the Bible is; a book that shows how all of the Scriptures point to Jesus; and a book that gives us the practical implications of Jesus at the center of the Bible and our very lives. I hope that this book will launch a plethora of books in this genre that help lovers of Christ see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and passionately worship and declare Him so much more from the Scriptures than is currently practiced.
*Michael James Williams in his own words: “After my conversion in the U. S. Navy (in a submarine beneath the North Atlantic!), I entered Columbia Bible College, where I received a B.A. (1985). This was followed by an M.A. in Religion at Westminster Theological Seminary (1987) and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (1999). In 2000, I was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church, and since 1995 have been teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. I have also taught courses at Westminster Theological Seminary, the University of Pennsylvania, and brief stints in Limuru, Kenya; Donetsk, Ukraine; and Warsaw, Poland. In addition to articles on Old Testament topics in various reference works and academic journals, and contributing to and editing “Mishneh Todah: Studies in Deuteronomy and Its Cultural Environment in Honor of Jeffrey H. Tigay” (2009); I have authored “Deception in Genesis: A Comprehensive Analysis of a Unique Biblical Phenomenon” (2001); “The Prophet and His Message: Reading Old Testament Prophecy Today” (2003); and, most recently, “How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture” (2012). My amazing wife, Dawn, and I enjoy hiking and all things outdoors.”