With his new book, Michael Williams, Professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, has given the church a wonderful tool to facilitate her following Jesus’s command: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20 ESV).
With refreshing simplicity, Williams’s Jesus Lens takes seriously Jesus’s own interpretation of the Bible’s ultimate unity: the Scriptures testify of me (John 5:39). Thus he aims to teach Christians how to read the Bible as Jesus did—not as a discombobulated collection of random stories but as a single story whose climax and scope is Jesus Christ. “Reading the Bible through the Jesus lens is reading it the way it was intended. It keeps our reading, understanding, teaching, and preaching properly focused on God’s grand redemptive program that centers on his own Son” (p. 9).
“The goal of this book,” continues Williams, “is parallel to that of Christ for the disciples he joined up with on the road to Emmaus” (p. 10): “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27 ESV). This is why this book is a wonderful gift to the church: it facilitates a basic understanding of the Bible’s overarching story line in every book of the Bible, and it does so in a clear, concise, and non-technical way.
For example, in treating Genesis, Williams highlights God’s activity of separating throughout the book. This separation culminates in the call of Abraham, which, when viewed through the Jesus lens, ties in directly to Jesus’s fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (see, e.g., Galatians 3:7–8). “Jesus is the one to whom all God’s separating was always meant to lead, and Jesu is separate from all others in his ability to bring the promised divine blessing to the nations” (p. 15; see Acts 4:12). God continues his work of separating in his church today (2 Corinthians 5:18–20), and he calls us to pass on the Abrahamic blessing we have received in Christ (pp. 15–16).
Because this book is written for normal readers (not scholars), it can be used in many ways. You can give it to a non-Christian who wants to know what the Bible is all about. You can give it to a new Christian who is seeking to grow in understanding God’s Word. You can use it to teach a Sunday School class. Additionally, if you want to attend a class on this book, you can take an online class taught by the author himself.
- Read Contents and Ch. 1: Genesis of Jesus Lens
- See Zondervan’s accompanying blog tour
- Watch Williams describe what his book is and why he wrote it:
- Read one of Professor Williams’s other books: