Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola is sure to challenge your thinking as well as how you view the Bible. As a pastor and Bible teacher, some of the most frequent questions that I receive have to do with the Old Testament. At first glance, it just seems so different from the New Testament. Is the God of the Old the same God that we see in the New?
In this work by Sweet and Viola, the authors provide a framework to read and study the entire Bible. This is done by letting Jesus be the lens that we view the entire book through. On page one they let us know where they are taking us and what their framework looks like: “The entire Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are unified by a common narrative. And once our eyes are opened to see that narrative, everything in both Testaments gels into a coherent, understandable, and amazing story.”
While not tackling some of the more controversial passages in the OT, the book does provide an excellent overview of the entire Scriptures using their framework. Instead of viewing the testaments as two very different books, what if we shifted our mentality and sought to read the Bible as a single, integrated book? While many Christians would claim to already do that, the reality is that most of us have no idea how to read and understand the OT.
The authors take us all the way back to Genesis, pointing out several places where we get a glimpse of Jesus in the creation story. Here is one example: “In the natural realm, all life on planet Earth depends on the sun. In the spiritual realm, all life depends on Christ. Recall the Lord’s own words: “Without Me you can do nothing.” Indeed, Jesus is the reality of the sun. When we behold the moon, we are reminded of the church. Like the sun, the moon is also an embodied light. But it is not a light source. Rather, the moon reflects the light of the sun. The darkness of the world cannot see the real light. But it can behold the body of Christ, the church, which reflects the light.” (Page 24)
Sweet and Viola work through each day of the creation story, drawing some excellent parallels that point towards Christ. This is the pattern for the entire book, pointing us to Jesus through the entire Bible. When we understand that everything God has done points us towards his Son, we gain a much greater understanding of God’s purposes in the world today.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a greater appreciation of the Old Testament, along with a fresh understanding of the New Testament, as well. Jesus: A Theography is not a book written for scholars, although they will benefit from it. It is written for anyone who desires a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and what He came to do.
Annie and I are serving the Lord in the US, India, and in South America. Would you consider joining our team? Just click here to get involved. Thanks so much!