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Book Review: Knowing Christ In The Old Testament

2549 words - 11 pages


Book Review: Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament

Submitted to Dr. Homer Heater, Professor of Biblical Studies
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of

OBST 515 –D11
Old Testament Orientation I


Wuan D. Miller
November 29, 2014


Christopher J. H. Right, author Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, is an Anglican clergyman and an Old Testament scholar. A Ph.D. graduate of Cambridge, he currently is the Director of International Ministries for the Langham Partnership International. Wright records at least ten years prior to the release of this work, three things ...view middle of the document...

Throughout this work, Wright’s major thesis is that “The Old Testament tells the story which Jesus completes.”[2] Beginning with the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1[3], he highlights
how every name listed recalls specific stories, events, miracles, and periods of history, all of which lead up to the coming of Israel’s Messiah. From this, Wright connects Jesus with the larger story of the history of the Hebrews, claiming that he must be interpreted in light of the historical story that he brings to a climax and completes. Wright then compares Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah to five scenes from Jesus childhood to show that the promises of the Old Covenant were fulfilled in him.
From this foundation, Wright goes on to the crux of his book, the self-identity of Jesus, and how he was shaped. He claims that as Jesus learned the Hebrew Scripture, he progressively began to see his identity, mission, and values relative to the Jewish nation. “For the Messiah was a representative figure”.[4]
Finally, Wright claims that there is a continuity and integration of the mission of God’s people, from ancient Israel all the way to the church today, which can be identified in three fundamental ethical teachings of Jesus, “God comes first,” “persons matter more than things,” and “needs matter more than rights.”[5]

Critical Interaction

Wright intends to present a comprehensive assessment that will navigate the reader through a host of implications concerning the relationship to Jesus and the Old Testament. Though he addresses various theological perspectives, his overarching perspective is two-fold in that the Old Testament sheds light on Jesus, and Jesus also sheds light on the Old Testament.[6] “So then we can see that when we take Old Testament history seriously in relation to its completion in Jesus Christ, a two-way process is at work, yielding double benefit in our understanding of the whole bible.”[7]
Near the conclusion of the book, Wright states, “Our whole purpose has been to see how much Jesus was shaped in his identity, mission, and teaching by his Hebrew scriptures.”[8] He concludes that Jesus’ early life was self-shaping in that as he learned the Hebrew bible, he gained a sense of awareness concerning his purpose on earth. Thus, he self-determined that he was the Davidic King, the Son of God, and the Servant of the Scriptures who was called to fulfill the mission of God. This a major theological perspective in that Wright seems to suggest that Christ is not fully divine, but rather remarkably human. In fact, Wright describes Jesus as being riddled with “whirling confusion” as he struggled to discover himself in the Hebrew Scriptures.[9] Wright even claims that Jesus discovered that God could be trusted by what he learned in the Scriptures, proved in his own tests, and eventually taught to his followers.[10]
A second major theological perspective concerns itself with the controversial “Two covenant Theory”[11], which...

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