on 21 August 2013
Every now and then you read a book that makes you go "Wow!" David Murray's Jesus on Every Page is a book that would fit into this category. I was looking forward to reading it, and having read it, it does not disappoint.
It is a book of two halves. The first half tells David's own `Road to Emmaus' story of how he came to discover that the Old Testament was all about Christ. This part of the book really draws you in with a mix of personal narrative and clear Bible teaching.
The second half of the book provides 10 ways of finding Jesus in the Old Testament: Christ's Planet, People, Presence, Precepts, Past, Prophets, Pictures, Promises, Proverbs and Poets. Time and time again these chapters made me say to myself "Why didn't I see that before?"
Each chapter of this book was a delight to read, however the one that really blew me away, was Christ's Planet, where Murray shows how we can discover Jesus in creation, giving 11 ways (yes, eleven ways!) we see Christ in Genesis 1 and 2. If the rest of the book weren't so good, I'd say it's worth buying just for the chapter, but actually it's worth buying for every chapter.
I really cannot recommend this book highly enough. Both for pastors to help them preach Christ from Old Testament passages, and also for the whole congregation to help them to know Christ better from these 39 books of the Bible.
on 21 August 2013
In September 2012, Harvard historian Karen King unveiled her discovery to an unsuspecting world: she had uncovered a credit card sized fragment of a papyrus manuscript, which she named The Gospel of Jesus' Wife. It seems like every few years a new document is discovered with new information about Jesus and his life. In his wisdom, God gave his people detailed accounts of the life and works of Jesus Christ in the gospels. Another document with information about Jesus' life and ministry, like a new novel in a best selling series, would make excellent supplemental reading material. What if such a document actually existed? As a matter of fact, thirty-eight of them exist and you likely have them nearby.
David Murray is a Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. In Jesus on Every Page, he will become your guide as he presents the reader with ten paths, or ways for experiencing Jesus in the Old Testament.
And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
In Luke 24 we read the account of two of Jesus' followers on the road to Emmaus. They are downcast with the events of crucifixion and are confused in their understanding of what sort of a Messiah he was. They clearly didn't understand what Jesus was about. As they are walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus draws alongside and teaches them how all the Old Testament Scriptures revealed him.
The aim of Jesus on Every Page is to help us, like these two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, to clearly see Jesus Christ in all the Old Testament. Furthermore, to see Jesus Christ as at the centre of all Scripture. David shares his own road to Emmaus experience with the reader as the book progresses.
This is a book of two parts. In part one, David begins with a careful consideration of how Abraham would have understood the good news of what God promises in Genesis 12:1-3, and what this would have meant to him on top of God's previous promises in Genesis 3:15. David shares that in his own journey, the light of Jesus in the Old Testament gradually became brighter and brighter. In four chapters he shows us how Jesus, Peter, Paul and John viewed the Old Testament scriptures. David shows his skill as a scholar and unlocks the Old Testament for us. As he says on page 40, "the consistent message of Christ and His apostles is that the Old Testament is all about Christ and His gracious salvation."
Now that this foundation has been laid, in the second part of Jesus on Every Page, David draws alongside us and continues to be our guide on our own journey. This second part of the book is comprised of ten chapters where he presents us with ten methods to discover Jesus in the Old Testament: in creation, through various characters, appearance of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Law, Israel's history, the prophets, types, the covenants, and through the literary genres of proverbs and poetry.
One of the many chapters I enjoyed reading was chapter 7, which is like a gateway into the second part of the book. David writes about the Christ-centeredness of the creation account in Genesis 1-2 and encourages the reader to take a step back from the creation vs. evolution debate to view these first chapters within the overarching narrative of all Scripture. Who wrote this text? Moses. Who were the original readers? God's people - the children of Israel. What situation were they in? God had delivered them from Egypt through his chosen rescuer - Moses. David comes to the conclusion that the first chapters of Genesis, for the original audience, are not primarily about 6-day creation. Rather, they are about something with far greater significance. God's people took encouragement from this passage to look for a redeemer greater than Moses and deliverance greater than that from Egypt!
I think David kept one of his best chapters for last: discovering Jesus in the poetic genre of scripture, particularly with his handling of the Song of Solomon. The poetic genre is difficult for many of us because we don't read poetry well, or at all. David tells his readers to stop dissecting the poetic text of the Song of Solomon and treating it the way we would a theological discourse like a Pauline epistle, and encourages us start to feel the emotions the love poem evokes for this coming King of Love.
Jesus on Every Page is an accessible guide for the Christian and also of great value for the Bible student and the preacher alike. David writes with a straightforward and logical style and he makes good use of worked examples in some chapters. The book is well cross-referenced and draws you deeper into passages of Scripture. David also makes several useful suggestions for further reading, such as The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.
In some chapters David does pack a great deal of good teaching in; but perhaps a bit too much in one or two instances. When reading the chapter on characters that pointed forward to Christ, or on how the Law revealed Jesus, I felt like I was trying to take a drink from a fire hose. The teaching comes thick and fast. These parts require you to shift gears and to re-read slowly and thoughtfully.
Through reading Jesus on Every Page I came to a better grasp of how the Old Testament teaches us about Jesus; and more appreciation for the place of the Old Testament in the overarching metanarrative of all Scripture. If you have read The Goldsworthy Trilogy by Graeme Goldsworthy, or God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts, you will thoroughly enjoy reading Jesus on Every Page. You should add this book to your reading list if you are a Bible student or preacher as it will open up the many and varied ways that Jesus appears in the Old Testament. For the same reason the Christian should also consider reading this to acquire the methods that David will teach you, so that you too can say the words of Philip: "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (John 1:45).
on 20 August 2013
Occasionally before even finishing a book I start thinking about how to persuade everyone I know to read it. This is one of those books.
Murray seeks to tackle the problem that 'Christians seem to have forgotten that the Old Testament has everything to do with Jesus Christ'. Statistics show OT preaching is rare, and even when it is done, it's done badly. When people read the OT themselves, they're far from seeing Jesus on every page.
Murray himself took a long time to see the Old Testament in this way. In the first section of the book he retraces the steps of his own journey, focusing especially on how key figures in the New Testament (Jesus, Peter, Paul and John) understood the Bible they preached from.
The second section, which is the bulk of the book, has chapters on 10 different ways to seek and find Christ in the OT, beginning with Creation. All things were created through Christ he reminds us, down to the sheep he created so he could teach sinners about how he is the good Shepherd.
The next nine steps are similarly short but profound. He covers seeing Jesus in Old Testament characters, appearances, law, history and prophets. His chapter on 'Jesus' Pictures' (Old Testament 'types' or 'visual theology') takes Patrick Fairbairn's 700 page classic and reduces it to 10. The chapter on 'Christ's Promises' is a masterly introduction to what is in fact Covenant Theology, but with the usual jargon replaced by terms like 'The Covenant of the Defeated Serpent'. In fact, the book is really a Christ-centred Bible overview.
Murray also challenges popular conceptions of God's people before 1AD. They didn't trust in works righteousness or an earthly king. Neither did they just have some vague hope of a Messiah to come. They had a lot clearer understanding of Jesus than we often give them credit for. As Mr and Mrs Israelite read the Old Testament, they were always peering over the horizon for the one who was to come.
The book finishes by looking at Christ's Proverbs and Christ's Poems. Proverbs, 'the Old Testament Twitter', and the 10 Commandments are both expositions of Jesus' life. The section on the psalms brings the book towards a fitting climax; the fact that many have thrown out their Psalters and replaced them with gospel choruses is 'because of a fundamental misunderstanding of Old Testament theology'. And in light of everything that's gone before, guess what? He doesn't think the Song of Solomon is primarily about marriage guidance!
Every Christian will benefit from this book. Everyone who teaches the Bible in any capacity (whether to your children, in Sunday School or to a congregation) needs to read this book. Murray started off writing this book for pastors but then scrapped that idea and aimed it at everyone. It's really easy to read and brilliantly illustrated. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
David Murray has written a really helpful and accessible book, not primarily aimed at preachers, as these books often are, but at non-preachers. He writes openly and honestly, charting his own story of failure to see Jesus in the Old Testament as much as he should have done--even as a preacher. This openness and sense of journeying with him makes the book much more readable than if he had written a textbook on Christ in the Old Testament. It also allows his enthusiasm and delight at seeing Jesus to shine through.
The book falls into two unequal parts. Part 1, the shorter section, contains his own admission of failure, and then answers the question--What right have we to see Jesus throughout the Old Testament. Instead of being content with quoting a single reference such as Luke 24:44, he looks at the testimony of four key New Testament figures--Jesus, Peter, Paul and John--and unpacks both the evidence and objections.
Section 2 is much longer and looks at how to see Jesus in 10 different aspects of the Old Testament--the Creation, the People, the Angel of The Lord, in the Law, in History, in the Prophets, in the Types, in the Covenants, in Proverbs, and in the Poetic books.
Throughout Murray gives numerous helpful, and almost annoyingly alliterative (!), principles in each section to enable you to see Christ in a variety of ways in each genre. He provides safeguards so that you don't fall into the dangers of turning insignificant details into unfounded illustrations of Christ's work, as many have done.
One of my favourite parts of the book was the chapter on Creation--Christ's Planet--and the way Murray draws out the fact that the earth is not just the arena for redemption, but that everything was created with redemption in mind. It is the accessory of redemption. We are used to thinking of this with marriage, created by God as an illustration of Christ's love for his bride the church. But Murray points out so much more--from the creation of sheep to illustrate our need for a shepherd, to birds to teach us not to worry, to trees and metal ore designed and put in place ready for his own crucifixion.
How about Old Testament characters--are they more than good or bad examples for us to follow or not as the case may be? Often this is how they are treated, but Murray shows us the problems with what he terms "The Heroes and Villains" approach, before setting out 13 ways such characters can point us to Jesus.
His chapter on Christ's Pictures--what theologians call types of Christ--provides four helpful guidelines, and a needed corrective to those who say that you can only legitimately call something a `type' if the New Testament identifies it as such.
Murray's closing chapter on Poetry deals with the Psalms and Song of Solomon. I would have loved to see a little more depth in the treatment of the Psalms, but his principles--we sing to Jesus, of Jesus, and with Jesus are helpful. His treatment of the Song of Solomon is helpful in a world and church gone mad on sex. Murray calls us to understand the Middle Eastern style of the Song, and to look at the emotional content rather than dissect every analogy. His principle of "Stop dissecting and start feeling" allows you to see the passionate love, the excitement, the generosity, the joy, the security that should exist between Christ and his bride.
One of the themes running through the book is that Old Testament believers grasped much more than we give them credit for. And when we realise that this was where the New Testament believers went to understand their salvation, and where Jesus himself went to grow in understanding of his work--this alone should encourage us to read the Old Testament with new eyes.
This is a great book, one that should be read by every Christian. It is clear accessible and packs a lot of teaching into a short space. In some ways Murray has had to give whirlwind overviews of massive theological topics in order to set the scene for seeing Christ. For example, he gives super overviews of the Covenants in scripture, and of how law and grace interact--all en route to showing us more of Jesus.
My only criticism of the book is that I would have wanted to see even more of Christ. Although Murray gives numerous examples, I would have liked to see more! In some ways it is a `how to book' In his Old Testament characters chapter, for example, I would have liked to seen more examples--something akin to Tim Keller's list of `Jesus is the truer and better...". I think a few more examples in each section would have allowed a greater feel for how to put all this to work, as well as warming our hearts even more.
However he has provided the tools, the map, and set me at the rock face where gold lies. It's time to go digging. Get Murray's book, read it and join me in the gold mine of the Old Testament.
on 12 April 2016
In this book, David Murray’s objective is to help readers find and enjoy Jesus when reading the Old Testament. He states it clearly that “many books did not help the reader start to do his or her own Christ-centred interpretation… the practical steps that would help a reader get from a text or chapter to Jesus were often missing. I’ve therefore tried to provide templates and step-by-step guides … to help the reader start practicing this wonderful way of enjoying Jesus in His Word” (p. 2).
What follows is a very readable account of his own journey to find Jesus in the Old Testament (Part 1) and 10 ways to find Him in the OT (Part 2). This book is not academic; it has, instead, a very pastoral focus – to elicit our worship of Jesus. Thus, the tone is very personal, but there does seem to be a lack of depth in many of his arguments. This would be my major criticism of the book.
Here are the 10 ways he proposes that readers can find Jesus in the Old Testament:
1) Christ’s planet: Creation
2) Christ’s people: OT Characters
3) Christ’s presence: Christophanies
4) Christ’s precepts: Law
5) Christ’s past: OT history
6) Christ’s prophets: Prophets
7) Christ’s pictures: OT types
8) Christ’s promises: Covenants
9) Christ’s proverbs: the Proverbs
10) Christ’s poets: Poems
This passage captures Murray’s theological framework: “We all believe the same gospel. The vocabulary was different, the clarity was different (Abraham believed in the shadows; we, in the sunlight), and the direction was different (Abraham looked forward to Jesus, whereas we look back), but the core, the essence, the focus was the same” (p. 16). From this starting point, he brings readers on a journey to discover Christ in the OT, providing very helpful tips and pointers with regards to methodology.
Each chapter is great, but I found the ones on the Law and the prophets most helpful. However, I sometimes found it difficult to follow his thoughts within certain chapters. Perhaps because the book reads more like a conversation than an essay, I had to pause once in a while to try to figure out the relevance of some of his points.
Although I do not agree with everything he says, this has been a helpful resource and a great introduction to finding Christ in the Old Testament because of its pastoral emphasis. This however, isn’t really a textbook on Biblical Theology. Thus, I would recommend this resource to anyone wishing to read the Old Testament to enjoy Jesus, but is unfamiliar as to the ‘how’ question. On a similar note, for someone who wants to see how the whole Bible fits together, I would recommend Vaughan Robert’s ‘God’s Big Picture’ as an excellent introduction.
on 21 September 2013
The idea of 'Christ on every page' of the Old Testament was one that our Puritan forefathers loved and understood, but confidence in it has been undermined by successive generations of scholars who have introduced liberal criticism of Scripture and pursued as a goal never to be deviated from that the primary meaning of Scripture is that the author intended. David Murray clearly shows the fallacy of all this and restores the simple principle that the Old Testament believers had a messiah-based faith. More than that, he reminds us of the importance of understanding the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament. The wonder is that he achieves all of this in an accessible way that means that this is a book that will benefit anyone who wants to understand Scripture. Unhesitatingly recommended.
on 21 September 2013
This book delivers what it promises.
In a relatively short space, it manages to clearly articulate and give examples of the many ways that Jesus Christ is present in the Old Testament.
Among them what truly stands out is the fact that Jesus is really present and active in every page of the OT, He doesn't just patiently wait for His incarnation, He has been and always will be the Saviour of His people.
It really is an eye-opener to the beauty both of the written Word and the living Word, Jesus.
Highly recommended to beginning Christians and experienced preachers alike! The church needs preaching that is Christ-centered. That is what the Bible is all about, after all.
Dr Murray has done an excellent job, to our beautiful triune God be all the glory!
on 5 December 2013
I originally purchased this for our daughter for Christmas in paperback and was so impressed with it that I then got it for myself on "kindle". (I would hasten to add that I did not read our daughters but looked at the chapter headings before wrapping it up and instantly thought "this is worth buying and reading" and I am glad I purchased it for my "Kindle". It is an excellent and does what it says on the cover. Buy it in any format and enjoy it. I am sure you will learn a lot
on 23 January 2014
A reminder that it is all about Jesus.
The author Ina very simple way introduces his readers to Jesus as he has revealed himself in the Old Testament.
on 20 January 2015
This book is trully amazing. It shows you how old testament pointed to Jesus and is full of new and fresh revelation of gospel. I only wish the author would write more as he is very inspiring person.