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How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture Paperback – January 28, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031033165X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310331650
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Each book of the Bible is presented in four pages using the same format for each book.
Frank Gantz
How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens is helpful and insightful and will undoubtedly bless you as use it as a tool to engage in a deeper study of God's Word.
Aaron Armstrong
Here is the synopsis of this book: Discover how each book of the Bible points readers to Christ.
Andrea Schultz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Tell on 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 By David P. Craig TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Life Long Reader on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
"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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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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