Liberty Theological Seminary
Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament
Submitted to Dr. John McLean
In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the course
Old Testament Orientation I
Deborah M. Baskin
23 November 2013
Table of Contents
Christopher J. H. Wright was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He holds a doctorate in Old Testament Ethics and currently serves as the international director of the Langham Partnership International (known in the USA as John Scott Ministries), and is on staff at All Souls Church in London.1 He is a prolific author having written commentaries on Deuteronomy and Ezekiel, Old Testament and Ethics for the People of God, Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, and several other books.2 Wright stressed that as one delves deeper into the Old Testament, “the closer you come to the heart of Jesus.”3 This review will give a succinct summary of Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament, followed by critical interaction with a few of the salient theological perspectives presented in the book, and will conclude with some personal observations. Summary
Wright connected Matthew’s account of the genealogy of Christ with Old Testament scriptures to set the stage for identifying Jesus as a real Jew, a real man, son of David, the end of the time of preparation, and a new beginning. Wright asserted: We see Jesus in the particularity of this context in Jewish history, and yet with the universal significance which was attached to that history since the promise to Abraham. We see him as the end and also the beginning. Only with such understanding of the meaning of the story so far, can we proceed to a full appreciation of the Gospel story itself.4
A concise Jewish history beginning with Abraham until the advent of Christ helps to clarify the relation between Israel and Jesus. One of the major contentions of Wright is that God’s promise of blessing all people through Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus. This theme of the blessing of all people is continued through the entire text and made an impact on Wright’s theological application, especially in regard to the missionary theology of Paul and the early church, which was based on Jesus’ identity found in His understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures.5 Wright spent a great deal of space dealing with how Jesus came to understand his identity as God’s Son, which manifested itself in obedience to God.6
Another theological theme presented is the idea of promise instead of prediction. “A prediction is a fairly flat affair. It comes true or it doesn’t… A promise is different. Because it involves personal relationship and commitment.”7 Building upon the concept of promise, Wright described in detail the following covenants: 1) the covenant with Noah, 2) the covenant with Abraham, 3) the Sinai covenant, 4) the covenant with David, and ending with 5) the New covenant.8 Through the servant songs, Jesus’ understanding of his mission was the same as Israel’s mission in terms of Abraham’s covenant. He would bring God’s salvation to all nations.9
Wright defined typology as a way of viewing the relationship between the Old Testament and Jesus. “The images, patterns, and models that the Old Testament provides for understanding him are called types.”10 Typology is not simply a foreshadowing of things to come. Wright pointed out that everything in the Old Testament should not be interpreted to have a hidden significance that could be applied to Jesus.11 There are large portions of the Old Testament that contain “enormous depths of truth and meaning for us to explore which are not directly related to Jesus himself.”12
Wright’s contention that promises can be fulfilled in various ways helped to solidify his belief that not all of Old Testament is...
Bibliography: “Christopher J. H. Wright.” InterVarsity Press. November 22, 2013. Accessed November 22, 2013.http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/author.pl/author_id=343.
Horton, Stanley M. “Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament.” Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society 40, no. 2 (June 1, 1997): 287. Accessed November 22, 2013.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000340387&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Long, V. Philips “Book Notices: Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, by Christopher J.h. Wright.”Presbyterion 19, no. 1 (March 1, 1993): 61-62. Accessed November 22, 2013.http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000644460&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
Thielman, Frank. “Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?” Christianity Today 40, no. 3 (March 4, 1996): 58. Accessed November 22, 2013.http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/ehost/detail?sid=5beed84c-ed31-4262-b6bd-f9cea2f585be%40sessionmgr115&vid=2&hid=128&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=rfh&AN=ATLA0000313188.
Wright, Christopher J.H. Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1995.
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