Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Michael Williams, How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture

By Michael Williams / Zondervan
331651: How to
Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of
Discover how each book of the Bible has an identifiable theme that is ultimately fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus. In this accessible resource, Williams clearly defines the unifying idea of each book; explains how it relates to Christ; suggests contemporary applications; and more. 256 pages, softcover from Zondervan. Also available as an ebook.

This book is an excellent introduction to recognizing the place of Jesus Christ as the unifying theme of the entire Bible. Williams give a brief 2-3 page overview of each book of the Bible. For every book he explains the main theme, gives a key verse, and then introduces the way that these themes culminate in Jesus as well as some thoughts on the importance of these themes for contemporary Christians. The book is well organized and very easy to read.

Of course, it is impossible to write a book like this without some level of oversimplification. Advanced students may point out a number of themes and connections that might just as well have been introduced. Others might point out that Williams skims over a lot of issues regarding the proper relationship between the Old and New Testaments that any student of Biblical theology must eventually wrestle with. These criticisms are accurate but Williams is not writing for those whose interest is in those subjects. The book is an introduction to the thematic unity of the Bible in the person of Christ. More advanced students who are interested in scholarly issues will not find much here of interest and would benefit more from reading one of a number of other works written to address those issues.

Williams’s goal was to avoid an overly academic discussion of these issues and instead offer a helpful starting point for a Christ centered reading of the entire Bible and he has done that. This is an excellent book for those who are either new students of the Bible or who have difficulty understanding what Numbers and Leviticus have to do with the Gospel. If you are looking for an easy to read and highly focused introduction to the centrality of Jesus to all of Scripture then I recommend this book to you. It is a great starting point for those who are curious how to “see Jesus” in every book without ignoring the themes found in those books and simply imposing the Gospel on to them. I pray that this book would be an encouragement to further Jesus focused study the Word for all who pick it up. I am confident that it will.

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