Recent years have seen a massive increase in writing on biblical theology. The field of biblical theology is primarily interested in understanding what the Bible is, how the Bible is put together, as well as if there is a central message to the Bible. While most of the recent books are academic in nature, what has been lacking in this resurgence on biblical theology is a book for laypeople to understand what biblical theology is and why it is important. To help address this shortage on books geared towards the layperson, Dr. David Murray wrote Jesus On Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament.
The redemptive historical movement in the evangelical Church has been a source of encouragement to me. Rather than viewing the Bible as a book full of principles, many are coming to understand that at the center of the Bible is the person and work of Jesus Christ whose death, burial and resurrection form the heart of the Gospel message from both the Old and New Testaments. Given this resurgence and emphasis on biblical theology, many critics have arisen who question the validity of this method. Such critics think that this message is dangerous as they believe it resorts to “forcing” Christ onto every passage. While some have indeed gone this route, the best practitioners of redemptive historical theology avoided such pitfalls instead seeking to first exegete the passage faithfully and then as Charles Spurgeon said, “Make a beeline to the Cross.” In the distinguished tradition of redemptive historical interpretation, Dr. Murray has written one of the most helpful books I’ve read on this subject. I’d like to give a few reasons why I feel this book is important in order to help you understand why you should pick up and read this book.
First, while the book is geared to be an introduction to this topic, it doesn’t compromise any of the argument nor does it apologize for making clear distinctions. Thus, I believe this book makes not just a helpful contribution to the discussion for the lay person, but also for those who are academically inclined. Second, the author practices the best of the redemptive historical approach to Scripture. This means he doesn’t force the text to show Christ, but rather explains the text efforting to then note how Christ is its fulfillment or goal. This is an important distinction because critics of this approach often object to this style of biblical interpretation because they think it is irresponsible. As noted earlier, while this can happen, Murray avoids that tendency demonstrating his ability to properly utilize the redemptive historical approach.
Third, this book is important because of its clarity and personal pastoral tone. The author appeals to his reader through his own wrestling through this issue and how he came to hold to a redemptive-historical approach to biblical interpretation. The book seeks to help the reader understand not just the “why” of the text but how to see Christ in the Scripture with Murray along the way assisting the reader to understand the cohesive nature of Scripture, namely the Old pointing forward to Christ and the New fulfilling the Old. Furthermore, the author clearly demonstrates how salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end found in His grace for His glory.
Finally, as I read this book I was personally assisted by the manner in which Dr. Murray outlined his own struggles with this issue and how he came to understand how and why he holds to this position. While I already hold to the redemptive historical mode of biblical interpretation, what I appreciated most and what is often missed by many authors in this discussion is the fact this method of biblical interpretation doesn’t seek to just explain how the storyline of Scripture relates to Christ. Conversely, it demonstrates how to apply Christ to all of life. It is at this point where I think the author’s effort shines the most and provides his most helpful contribution by showing how Scripture should seep into the very fabric of our lives for the sake of the Gospel.
Every single person in the Church is at varying degrees of their knowledge and application of Scripture. Dr. Murray, in his book Jesus On Every Page understands this point and helps the reader wherever they are by walking alongside of them, pointing them to the sufficiency of Jesus in Scripture so they may apply it to every aspect of their life. While I think chapter 14 on Christ’s Promises: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Covenants is worth the cost of the book just by itself, the whole book makes a significant contribution to this discussion by helping the reader understand why the topic is important and more importantly, how to apply this model to how they read the Bible.
The best Christian books are Word-based meaning they seek to help the reader understand what the Bible says, why it matters and how to apply it’s timeless truths to their lives. In this tradition, Jesus On Every Page which will help its readers learn the redemptive historical model and how to apply it to a sound methodology of Bible study. In a time when people are increasingly biblically illiterate, we need books like Jesus on Every Page to help people understand how Scripture testifies of Christ. This outstanding book is one of the most helpful books I’ve read in some time. I highly recommend it for every Christian scholar and lay person to read, digest, apply and add to their tool belt to in turn better read, study, meditate, and obey the Word of God, by the grace of God, to the glory of God.
Author: David Murray
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2013)
I received this for free from Thomas Nelson book review program for this review. 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 Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.