Thinking Out Loud

November 11, 2013

Christ Before the Manger

The title of today’s article is the title of a book I always wanted to get my hands on. There have been numerous books written on the pre-incarnate Christ and I have always gravitated to this particular topic, wanting to know more about the second Person of the Trinity and His activity and role before (and after) a particular window in time that we know from the gospels.

So I wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to read about the revelation of Jesus in Old Testament scripture, a topic which is similar but different.

Jesus on Every Page - Davd MurrayJesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament by David Murray (Thomas Nelson, 2013) is in some respects an adult version of a Children’s Bible that came out a couple of years ago, The Jesus Storybook Bible. I thought it rather odd that so many Christian bloggers and book reviewers chose to review a product for kids, but many were drawn to the way each of that book’s stories ended with a paragraph or two noting how the stories prefigured the coming of Jesus.

But David Murray’s book is more than a grown up storybook. He explains that he was actually looking for something that would be displayed in the academic/reference section, until the publishers suggested something more pedestrian. You would never know that it started out more highbrow; to the contrary I would have been more than happy if the book were double its 200-odd page length. It was easy to follow and left me wanting more.

Jesus on Every Page begins with how the Old Testament is reflected in the words of Jesus, Peter, John and Paul. But then the action really kicks in, looking at the hidden, and not-so-hidden pictures of the coming Messiah that are found in the law, the covenants, the trajectory of Israel’s history, the typology and so on to the poetry and proverbs. “The book of Proverbs;” Murray says, “is the Old Testament’s Twitter.”

David Murray seems to love to import illustrations from our modern world. This is very much today’s study on this topic.

It’s as if gospel was spelled in a 12-point font in the Old Testament and in a 1200-point in the New Testament. Or we might say that it was pictured in the Old using thumbnails but blown up to poster size in the New. (p. 149)

I finished the book a few days ago, but found myself re-reading entire sections. Any one of the ten featured chapters could be its own book, and taken together, the book is an excellent primer on Old Testament interpretation.

Clearly written, well-researched, next-generation friendly, and immensely practical; Jesus on Every Page earns my highest recommendation, but with one caveat: The challenge here will be to whet people’s appetite for this topic and then get the book into their hands. Perhaps someone struggling with the Old Testament, or unconvinced of the connection between the Old and the New will already have a hunger for what this offers.

David Murray pastored in Scotland for twelve years before going to the U.S. in 2007 where he is now Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. Besides the book, his primary web presence is with HeadHeartHand.org self-described as a media organization providing creative and production services for Christian ministries.

…To return to my review title, in many respects this is about the pre-incarnate Christ. If I’m reading Jesus on Every Page accurately, Christ is not only foreshadowed in the First Testament, but is very much present and active.

Sometimes when I’ve finished a review, I click around to see what others thought. After reading a dozen such, I thought you would especially enjoy this one. And this one, too.

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5 Comments »

  1. I was looking for a new book. Your high recommendation makes a trip to my local Christian book store a high possibility this afternoon! Previous to following your blog I would have gone online and ordered it, But your points about valuing the presence of a local book store really spoke to me and I have since been going in person to support them. It may cost a couple of dollars more, but in light of your insights, I feel it a small price to pay.

    Comment by yokedwithhim — November 11, 2013 @ 9:18 am

    • Plus you never know what else you’ll see there; who you might run into. Go expecting to both receive and to give.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 11, 2013 @ 10:57 am

  2. I didn’t read the book ‘Jesus on every page’, however reading your blog I remember how astonished I was when I discovered that the apostle Paul not one time in his letters referred to one saying of Jesus (except in his discussion about the Last Supper in 1 Corinthians 11. In Acts 20:35 only 1 time). Paul always taught the people through the Old Testament about the fullness of Jesus Christ. There he found Christ overwhelmingly. About the journey of the Israelites in the desert he remarked: “and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4 NASB). Certainly this is applicable to the entire history of the Old Testament. So I am very interested in this book of Murray and how the author elaborated the title of his book.

    Comment by BJE — November 11, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  3. Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging review, Paul. That means a lot to me.

    Comment by David Murray — November 11, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

  4. I hope to be spending a few days in Brisbane before Christmas and will be able to check out a few of your recommendations, including this one.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — November 22, 2013 @ 3:04 pm


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