Michael Williams' new book How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens has been getting a good bit of attention lately, and rightly so. This short book consists of a chapter on every book of the Bible in which Williams, and Old Testament professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, provides the following:
- A super quick overview of the whole book;
- "The Jesus Lens," a thoughtful consideration aof how to relate the book to the gospel and readi it in light of the gospel;
- and "Contemporary Implications" and "Hook Questions" in which the author helps to bring the message of the book to bear on the Christian life in light of the gospel.
Williams' summaries are clear and helpful, the way he relates each book to Christ is skillful and hermeneutically sensitive, and his application questions are practical and gritty.
All this make sthe book extremely useful for pastors and church members. Here are a number of ways I could see a pastor or other church leader using this book:
- Consulting it when you begin a new preaching series as part of getting an overall feel for the book.
- Same thing for preaching an overview sermon, or a one-off message in a book that you haven't taught from before.
- Using it as a resource to inform teaching Sunday school classes through books of the Bible, especially overview classes or quick surveys.
- Using it as a discipling tool to help members read through the whole Bible. You could read through Williams' chapter together, then read through the biblical book, then discuss the biblical book at your next meting. Williams' book will help chuch members grow in their basic knowledge of Scripture and in their ability to apply any portion of Scripture to their lives, through the gospel.
Dr. Williams, thanks for serving us all through your work on this book. Pastors, I'd highly recommend picking up multiple copies: one to consult in your own study and preparation, and a large handful to give away.