Book Review: Jesus Through the Old Testament and New

Pages: 6 (1810 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy for $19.77

¶ … Jesus Through the Old Testament" and New Testament Interpretation of the Old Testament: the Theological Rationale of Midrashic Exegesis

A great deal of people has debated over the Old Testament and over the person of Jesus Christ, only to come up with vague information relating to the topics. Christopher J. Wright's book "Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament" goes at providing insight on whom is Jesus Christ and how the Old Testament contains significant facts which are essential in trying to understand more about Christianity and everything related to it.

There is much controversy as to the influence that the Old Testament had on the New Testament. One can even go as far as claiming as the New Testament had more influence on the Old Testament rather than vice-versa. According to Martin Pickup, a number of passages in the Old Testament were interpreted so that they would be related to Jesus Christ, even though they had nothing to do with the Messiah.

Surely, such an allegation needs further discussion and it is relative, given the fact that interpretations are not always mirroring reality.

Unlike other writers who got engaged in studying the document in an attempt to interpret it, Wright give a more thorough account, which provides information that has never before been tackled. While reading the book, one is likely to discover that the text takes them far into the ancient writings. Most probably, the book was written so that its readers would be left with a better understanding of Jesus and of Christianity consequent to dealing with all the elements in the document.

One of the main concepts discussed in the book is the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and how the former has gotten to influence the passages in the latter. Wright apparently wants the book to make the difference between a Christian that know little about his religion and one who is well informed.

Wright looks into Matthew's writings with the intention of showing the role played by Jesus in the Old Testament. In his opinion, Jesus came to complete the ancient document, as He complies with a series of prophecies in it. It is as if Jesus embodies God's promises to His followers. Although at times it appears that Wright's main purpose is to reveal more about Jesus and about his mission, the writer also pays great importance to explaining key concepts in Christianity, such as God's plans for humanity.

The book first deals with familiarizing the reader with the historical background preceding the coming of Jesus. Matthew's genealogy can be likened to a narration of events and how each of these events influenced Jesus Christ. A number of readers are likely to gain some understanding regarding the acts performed by God and the expectations He has from the world.

God's plans for mankind are further dealt with in the second part of the book and the author even dives deeper into the topic. Wright concentrates on the covenants God uses to deliver a series of promises, showing the expectations people had consequent to the dissemination of these promises.

It gradually becomes obvious what God promises and what people expect from these promises. While certain promises prove to be exactly what people perceived them to be, others appear to be harder to understand, thus leaving people confused when they are eventually carried out. God's expectations from His followers are also brought into attention, as the writer shows how people are predisposed to act against moral values.

Chapter three focuses on the relationship between God and Jesus and humanity's failure to understand this connection. God displays a forgiving attitude toward the people of Israel, even though they act against His will.

In the fourth part of the book, readers are presented with Jesus Christ and His purpose. All of this is done based on writings in the Old Testament, so as to show how it influenced the world. Readers learn that Jesus Christ's mission was not only that of freeing the people of Israel, but also that of bringing reform into all nations.

The fifth and final chapter in the book deals with how Jesus Christ had most of the values attributed to God in the Old Testament. This sector of the book depicts the influence Christ's behaviour had on the people in the first century. Jesus talks to people about matters that are essential for living a moral life and about how people need to abandon their material desires in order to embrace spirituality.

The book's story progresses in a constant manner, making readers want to find out more about the Old Testament. Wright wants people to open their eyes and see Christianity for what it is, instead of doing what they usually do: treat it with superficiality. One is likely to be amused knowing that there are people calling themselves true Christians in spite of the fact that their knowledge of Christianity is very limited.

"Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament" does not just bring forward isolate moments in the lives of Jesus and passages in the Old Testament with the purpose of drawing more and more readers. The writer appears to have given more importance to the effect that the book will have on its readers rather than paying attention to its commercial success.

As Wright sees it, the world did not end with the coming of Jesus Christ, as it actually began at that point. Until his time, the Old Testament served as instructions meant for raise awareness and to prepare people for what was to come. Wright's interpretation of the Old Testament is nonetheless similar to other interpretations, but even with this, it is intriguing because it presents readers with never before tackled concepts.

In his description of the historical events heralding the coming of Jesus Christ, Wright shows how most signs (most notably the covenants) foresaw the coming of a Messiah, and how Christ is most likely to be the individual described throughout the Old Testament.

Narrating the periods lasting from Abraham to David, from David to the exile, and from the exile to the birth of Jesus Christ, Wright shows how the Old Testament was virtually a historical and prophetical document at the same time. People in Israel were apparently aware of the mistakes them and their ancestors made when they decided to disobey the word of God. At the time when Jesus Christ was born, people longed for their Messiah, the one who they expected to save Israel and the world.

Wright chose a series of essential passages in the Old Testament and while little people can claim to have read the ancient writing, they are likely to find that it contains interesting information they did not know, and which is not present in the New Testament.

The author wants readers to distinguish between predictions and promises in the Old Testament. While predictions offer uncertainty, promises offer the guarantee that they are going to happen. As Wright describes, promises are an "initiative of God's grace" (Wright, 2005, 43) and they have to be "accepted and responded by faith and obedience" (Wright, 43). Some information in the Old Testament brought forward by "Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament" is probably new to those who read the book. However, Wright concentrates on describing and interpreting passages, so as to avoid having to leave readers in confusion.

The book does not attempt to claim that the main purpose of the Old Testament is that of predicting the coming of Jesus Christ. Numerous Christians believe that the period before the coming of the Messiah is unimportant, and that the role that it played in the existence of Christianity is insignificant. Conversely, Wright insists on this condition and shows that it is not until the episode describing Daniel's vision when the ancient document relates to a Messiah.

Jesus had two purposes in this world, according to the book. The first one was to serve God and the second was to fall victim to humanity in order to save it.

The knowledge attained by most Christians across their lives can only be traced to the New Testament, while they look with lack of trust to the events present in the Old Testament. Wright assists such individuals in gaining a better understanding of Christianity, as it is only beneficial for one to know more about key events which shaped their religion.

The book is more than a religious writing, given the fact that it also holds a lot of historical facts and several events which are likely to have found little to no interpretation across time. In this writer's opinion, the person of Jesus Christ is the materialization of the promises and the prophecies in the Old Testament.

At times, one can easily discover that Wright is a conventional individual when it comes to religion. For him, the Scriptures play a vital role in the existence of Christianity and he considers newer documents relating to this religion to be… [END OF PREVIEW]

Jesus Christ: The New Moses Term Paper


Old Testament Summary Genesis Research Proposal


Messiah in Old Testament Term Paper


New Testament and Homosexuality Term Paper


Holy Spirit in the Old Testament Thesis


View 519 other related papers  >>

Cite This Book Review:

APA Format

Jesus Through the Old Testament and New.  (2010, June 27).  Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jesus-old-testament-new/1234779

MLA Format

"Jesus Through the Old Testament and New."  27 June 2010.  Web.  19 November 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jesus-old-testament-new/1234779>.

Chicago Format

"Jesus Through the Old Testament and New."  Essaytown.com.  June 27, 2010.  Accessed November 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jesus-old-testament-new/1234779.