Few issues are as important as understanding the Christ-centered nature of the Scriptures. When we consider who Christ is—what He came to do and accomplished in His death and resurrection, and what He continues to do as our Mediator, Advocate, Intercessor, and High Priest—truthfully our jaws should drop, and we should stand in awe of the grandness and awesomeness of Him. Often, as Christians, we can pledge allegiance to Christ and say all the right words. But truthfully, when was the last time our hearts were moved to tears at the thought of what Christ did for us on the Cross or what He continues to do for us? It’s one thing to say we love the Bible and read it daily, but it’s quite another to live in submission and obedience to the Word of God. Knowing Christ and being known by Him are perennial issues every person and generation must wrestle with. This is why I enjoyed the new book, Knowing Christ, by Mark Jones.
Jones explains the purpose of the book, “Is to look at the person of Christ and give readers—particularly those in the church- a reason to love him more. We can only love him more by knowing him better- which takes us beyond conceptual to relational knowledge. ‘To know’ in the Bible can very often mean to have a concern about something that involves the understanding of the mind, the movement of the will, and the application of the heart. ‘To know’ means ‘to know with particular interest’ or ‘to set one’s affections upon’. Let us then approach this study with wide-open hearts longing to know Chris who first loved us” (xv).
From this foundation the author explores Christ’s declaration, dignity, covenant, incarnation, divinity, humanity, faith, emotions, growth, reading, prayers, sinlessness, temptations, humiliation, transfiguration, miracles, sayings, death, resurrection, exaltation, intercession, Christ’s people, Christ’s wrath, and the names and offices of Christ. This book follows in the footsteps of Knowing God, by J.I. Packer, a book that many consider one of the best Christian books of the 20th century. To make a sequel to such a great book requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, and ability. I read this book very carefully for that reason, not because I don’t think Mark Jones isn’t a good writer; I think he is. He certainly “knows his stuff”, as they say. I read this book carefully because of my esteem of Packer’s book and because Dr. Packer endorsed this book. Dr. Packer’s endorsements as it’s been noted by others are treasures in themselves, and to write a follow-up book to anything he has written should be considered one of a Christian writer’s greatest honors.
Knowing Christ is a worthy sequel to Knowing God. While one focuses on who God is and what He’s like, a topic that many people fail to understand—equally misunderstood in our culture is who is Christ and what He demands. As Mark opens the Scriptures, he helps his readers understand the doctrine of Christ—that is, not just some parts of the work of Christ, but the totality of that work—not in academic language but in the language of the people. Charles Spurgeon was famous for preaching the Word of God in the language of the people. Mark Jones, while a scholar, is also a pastor. Here in this book, he writes to help the lay person understand the doctrine of Christ.
Knowing Christ is a treasure trove of biblical teaching, Reformed Theology, and practical insight into the Doctrine of Christ. Whether you are a new or seasoned Christian, this book has something for you. I highly recommend this critical study and believe Christians will be helped to grow in their understanding of Christ for the purpose of growing in Him. Pick up this book and grow in the riches and majesty of Christ.
This review first appeared in the April 2016 issue of Theology for Life. To download this issue please click here.