Recent years have seen been an increase in quality books addressing the Christ-centered nature of Scripture. Following in this tradition, Dr. Michael Williams wrote How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens. Written in the tradition of the best-selling How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth series, this book aims to help readers to read the Bible through “Jesus lens” which will help Christians to “keep our reading, understanding, teaching, and preaching properly focused on God’s grand redemptive that centers on his own Son” (9). The Jesus lens “ensures that our exegetical bowling balls stay within the lane and don’t go crashing over into areas where they can cause a lot of damage to the faith of believers and to our ability to use the Bible fruitfully in our service to God” (9).
How to Read the Bible through the Jesus lens is very well-written and easy to use. Each chapter contains some introductory comments on the book, a memory verse, the “Jesus lens”, explores the contemporary implications, and then concludes by giving hook questions. This approach is similar to that of God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment A Biblical Theology, by Dr. James H. Hamilton Jr. While Hamilton’s book is more academic in nature, Williams’ serves as a lay-level introduction to how each book of the Bible points readers to Christ.
Christians who struggle to understand the Christ-centered nature of Leviticus, 1 & 2 Samuel, Kings and Chronicles will find How to Read the Bible through the Jesus lens a helpful companion on how to understand the way in which Christ is at the heart of every book in His Word. Williams’ explanation of Leviticus will help Christians struggling to read through the entire Bible as he points out that the sacrifices in Leviticus, “With their emphases on acknowledging, celebrating, deepening, and restoring our relationship with god, reveal aspects of a coming ultimate sacrifice when we view them through the lens of Christ” (22).
While the book seeks to explain the Scriptures and does so faithfully, its greatest strength is Dr. Williams’ pastoral approach. While over the years I’ve read many books in this genre, as I read this book I felt I was being shepherded to better understand the person and work of Christ in all of Scripture. At various points in my Christian life, like many Christians, I’ve struggled to read through Leviticus and other parts of the Bible, but during such times How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens will be a resource I turn to in my reading of the Word to better understand how Jesus is at its center.
How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens is a good introduction to the Christ-centered nature of Scripture. For further study one should consider checking out Hamilton’s God’s Glory In Salvation through Judgment or any of the work by Graeme Goldsworthy. This book would make a great gift for the new Christian, and also a great resource for the advanced Bible student to get a quick overview of the Christ-centered nature of Scripture. Whether or not we are new or mature Christians, we would all do well to read How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens and learn how Christ is at the center of redemptive history and the Word of God.
Author: Michael Williams
Publisher: Zondervan (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their 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 Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”