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How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture [Kindle Edition]

Michael James Williams
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens connects each of the sixty-six books of the Bible to the person and work of Jesus Christ. By explaining each book’s theme and raising pertinent questions about the contemporary importance of that message, author Michael Williams sets readers on a path toward purposeful, independent reading and application of the entire Bible.

Editorial Reviews


“To understand God we look to his Word, and to understand his Word we are dependent on the Old and New Testaments. What we discover is that amid the many stories is an underlying Story, which leads us to Jesus, Immanuel. Michael Williams ably goes book by book, offering suggestive and stimulating ways for us to see Christ as the climax of the Story; from this vantage point he then offers contemporary implications that should inform our lives. Let Williams begin to shape the way you read the whole Bible, seeing it all in light of Jesus the Messiah.” -- Kelly Kapic, , Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College

About the Author

Michael Williams (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and a member of the NIV Committee on Bible Translation. He is the author of Deception in Genesis and The Prophet and His Message, and editor and contributor of Mishneh Todah. His passion is to equip students with knowledge of the Old Testament and its languages so that they may grow in their comprehension and appreciation of redemptive history and be adequately prepared to promote and defend the faith through word and action. Michael resides in Grand Rapids, MI, with his wife, Dawn.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5218 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B007SLP2RU
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ES46TO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,175 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book could be so good. But its not. March 6, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book that takes the reader through every book of the bible showing them how to understand the one grand plan of redemption, and how the bible is all about Jesus could be so good. I had very high hopes for this book. But I've been very disappointed in reading it. To be honest, I wonder if some of the glowing reviews are written about the actual book, or just about the idea of the book. I love the idea of this book, but I think the execution is poor.

I found the structure of the book to be needlessly restrictive. Each book of the bible is given one chapter, and with very few exceptions, each chapter is four pages long. (which means for a book attempting such a grand goal, its actually quite small) Each chapter gives two pages to an introduction/summary of the book, half a page to "the Jesus lens", half a page to "contemporary implications", and half a page to "hook questions." So the reality is that for each book, there are only two short paragraphs explaining how to read it through "the Jesus lens." It seems a bit arbitrary to impose such a strict template on the book. Why should a chapter explaining Isaiah be the same length as one explaining Ruth?

Secondly, and more seriously, the author never explains what exactly it means to read a book of the Bible "through the Jesus lens." Does it mean finding "types and shadows" in each book? Finding ways that each book "predicts" Christ? Or just finding a theme in each book that relates to Jesus? I believe wholeheartedly in the task of reading the OT (and the NT, for that matter) in a Christ-centered, Christ-exalting way. But I think separating each book into its own chapter without any bigger picture overview can actually distort the overall story of the bible rather than help us see it.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How All The Books of The Bible Point to Jesus January 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for a book like this to be written for a long time. In 1999 in a Doctor of Ministry course at Westminster Theological Seminary I was convicted and convinced that all Bible study, teaching, counseling, discipleship, and preaching must be done with Christ at the center of it all, if it's to be deemed "Christian." Jesus Himself said, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them the things concerning himself" in Luke 24:27 on the road to Emmaus. Ever since that time I have sought to read resources that would help me understand and interpret the Scriptures in light of the fact that all of the Scriptures - according to Jesus - are about Him. Yet, the mind-blowing thing to me is how few preachers and Bible teachers ever even get to Christ - unless he is a "tag on" at the end of a lesson or sermon (if that).

I am really excited about this book. Michael Williams has written an easy to read guide that is focused on how to read the Scriptures with a focus on Jesus. In 62 short chapters (about 4-6 pages per chapter) Williams covers the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. In each chapter there is an introduction to all the Scriptures showing the historical redemptive development that leads us to Jesus. He then gives a short theme for each book. Each chapter has a Scripture memory passage, followed by "the Jesus lens" section, and then contemporary implications from the book discussed, and "hook questions."

The back of the book has a helpful series of charts containing five sections of each book of the Bible with a title for each book, the theme, the Christ-focus of the book, the implications, and the key questions that "hook" you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Way to Get You Wanting to Read the Bible More March 7, 2012
"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Lk. 24:27, ESV). Oh how I wish I were one of the two men with Jesus on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. I would have gladly taken Jesus stern remarks in the previous two verses to hear Jesus explain to me ever so clearly how all of the Old Testament spoke of and towards Him.

While abuse can occur in this regards, there can be no serious denial of the fact that the authors of all 66 books of the Bible are a consistent witness to the reality that Jesus is at the heart and center of all of Scripture. While the Old Testament is pointing forward and the New Testament is looking back at the cross, it is the person on the cross that makes it so significant. It is Jesus that runs through Scripture and his name is whispered and shouted from every book.

While there are a number of books presently that address the issue of Jesus in all of Scripture, there are none so simple and striking as Michael Williams newest book How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture. In less than 300 pages Williams covers each book of the Bible in four pages as he draws our attention to how each book reveals its Jesus centeredness. This is the Jesus lens.

Each chapter begins by stating the books main theme and then in two or three paragraphs gives a brief overview of the book showing how this theme is woven throughout the book. Within this section one verses is suggested as the main verse than encapsulates the theme of the book.

Following the overview is The Jesus Lens section. In just one to two paragraphs Williams clearly shows the reader how the central theme of the book is connected to Jesus.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice little work on seeing Christ in every book in ...
Nice little work on seeing Christ in every book in the Bible. Very easy to read and explains the detailed theological concept the ever present Christ in all the workings of... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Scotsman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Robert S.
5.0 out of 5 stars get this one
very well done. keeps the bible intact and lets us see where Jesus fits in, it is not always obvious to a nonbeliever or a new believer, I think this would help
Published 3 months ago by Buffrin
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a great Bible study assistance
This book is a great Bible study assistance. It helps to clear up and understand many things so that I can help spread and explain The Word of God!
Published 4 months ago by Kevin Bloomquist
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok read
The author did an OK job. Some of the text are just the author's take on that book of the Bible. Lots I agree with, but some I did not. Reads like a college paper actually
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It will open eyes to "see Jesus" where he was not visible in the Bible...
I particularly like the consistent format of each chapters and the fact that each book of the Bible is handled in its normal order. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Randy
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth sharing and re-reading
A well-written overview of each book of the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. Each book was summarized using the same format : Theme Of The Book, Memory Passage, The Jesus... Read more
Published 17 months ago by D. Slonek
3.0 out of 5 stars Good place to start
Good intro to reading the bible with Jesus as the center. It is not a very deep book but gives a good enough overview to get the big idea. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Heath
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Snapshot of God's Redemptive Plan
The short summaries, with a focus on Jesus, bring a more clear understanding of the overall understanding of God's word and our place in the Story. Read more
Published 22 months ago by George W. Roby
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Resource
It is one of Jesus' more audacious claims--that all of the Scriptures testify to him. As Jesus appealed to the religious authorities of his day and as he exposed their ignorance,... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Tim Challies
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More About the Author

After my conversion in the U. S. Navy (in a submarine beneath the North Atlantic!), I entered Columbia Bible College, where I received a B.A. (1985). This was followed by an M.A. in Religion at Westminster Theological Seminary (1987) and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (1999). In 2000, I was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church, and since 1995 have been teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. I have also taught courses at Westminster Theological Seminary, the University of Pennsylvania, and brief stints in Limuru, Kenya; Donetsk, Ukraine; and Warsaw, Poland. In addition to articles on Old Testament topics in various reference works and academic journals, and contributing to and editing "Mishneh Todah: Studies in Deuteronomy and Its Cultural Environment in Honor of Jeffrey H. Tigay" (2009); I have authored "Deception in Genesis: A Comprehensive Analysis of a Unique Biblical Phenomenon" (2001); "The Prophet and His Message: Reading Old Testament Prophecy Today" (2003); and, most recently, "How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture" (2012). My amazing wife, Dawn, and I enjoy hiking and all things outdoors.


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