Monday, March 05, 2012

Book Review: How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens

I have a number of books on my shelves that advocate interpreting Bible in a christocentric way. How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens does more than talk about interpreting christocentrically. Michael Williams has given us a book that actually goes through each book of the Bible and shows its Christ centered focus. This is especially helpful for those that have not been seminary trained. It is a book that is bound to be very useful in local church settings.

Michael Williams sets this book apart in two ways.

  • First he covers every book in the canon and shows how each author points to Christ. There are no shortcuts here, Williams has done the necessary spadework to ensure a credible focus on Christ.
  • The second way he sets this book apart from the pack is that he has written it on a level and in a length that makes it accessible to the average church member. Each chapter covers a single book of the Bible in four or five pages. Each chapter contains sections that give context for the book and express a theme for the book. The central section for each chapter expresses the Christ-centered focus of the particular book. He ends each chapter with contemporary implications and supplies some hook questions to aid teachers in their introduction to studying it.

This approach is very useful for Bible teachers who want to make sure that they fit their study into the entire storyline of Scripture. I would like everyone in my church to have a copy of this guide.

At the end of the book is a summary chart that is very helpful. By itself it is worth the price of the book.

As part of Zondervan’s How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens blog tour I specifically looked at the chapter dealing with 1 Peter.

The essence of 1 Peter is captured as he states that standing firm in the face of severe trials is Peter’s focus. He highlights Jesus’ faithfulness in going to the cross as the suffering Savior so that his followers can be freed from the power of sin. This enables them to stand firm even when troubles would seem overwhelming. The contemporary implication of 4:19 “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” is very relevant for every age.

His summary after his hook questions help to give a good conclusion to this chapter. In it he reminds us that Peter calls for alertness, hope in God, and faithful obedience.

Dr. Williams did a superb job distilling the complex message of each Bible book into some memorable paragraphs pointing to Jesus. I am pleased with the final result. I highly recommend this book, particularly for teachers in the local church that want to be faithful in teaching the message of the Bible and pointing their students to Christ.

[I received this book free from the publisher as a part of the Zondervan How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens Blog Tour. There was no expectation from the publisher of a positive review.]


Michael Williams said...

Thanks for your review! You're right, I primarily aimed this book at the church, not the academy. I think the academy already talks to itself too much. I hope the book enables believers to understand and share their faith better, and to grow in their relationship with the One who is our life. If that proves true for even one person, then I'll consider the book a success.

Terry said...

You have done a good job with the book. I am putting together a training seminar for Bible teachers in local church settings. I have been looking for good resources for emphasizing Christ centered teaching. Your book is certainly one of the resources that I will highlight. You have done a great job at enabling believers to understand and then be able to share the gospel better.
Thank you for putting this book together.

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