Looking for a meaty, Christ-centered study of the Old Testament to use in your small group Bible study or adult Sunday School class? Maybe this five book series by Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie is it. Here’s a list of all five titles. As you can see, they cover the Old Testament from beginning to end:
The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis
The Lamb of God: Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
The Son of David: Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books
The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books
The Word of the Lord: Seeing Jesus in the Prophets
Each volume is designed to be used over a ten week period. Every chapter in the books has questions for personal preparation at home, a teaching section summarizing the truths learned in that particular section of the Old Testament, and some discussion questions to be used in the group session.
First in the series
I’ve only read the first book in the series – THE PROMISED ONE: Seeing Jesus in Genesis, but I can truthfully say that I found it to be wonderful study of how the first book of the Bible points us to the person of Christ. Here are a list of the chapters in this first book:
Week 1: The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24)
Week 2: Creation (Gen. 1:1 to 2:3)
Week 3: The Fall (Gen. 2:4 to 3:24)
Week 4: Noah and the Flood (Gen. 6-9)
Week 5: The Tower of Babel (Gen. 10:1 to 12:3)
Week 6: Abraham (Gen. 12-15)
Week 7: Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 16-24)
Week 8: Jacob (Gen. 25:19-35:21)
Week 9: Joseph (Gen. 37 to 50)
Week 10: The Sons of Jacob (Gen. 29-30; 34-35; 38-39; 48-49)
To establish her method, the author shows in the first chapter of THE PROMISED ONE how Jesus taught about Himself from the Old Testament to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:25-27 and then later when he appeared to a whole group of disciples in Luke 24:44-48.
25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. … 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Guthrie goes on to explain:
As Jesus worked his way through the writings of Moses and the prophets, he didn’t merely point out specific prophecies that he fulfilled, which is what my understanding of how the Old Testament points to Christ has been limited to for most of my life, (i.e. that he would be born in Bethlehem and that he would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey.) And he didn’t use the Old Testament characters or situations as examples to instruct the two disciples on how to live the life of faith, which is how many of us have always heard the Old Testament taught.
For some of you Guthrie’s method of interpreting the Old Testament, i.e. seeing Christ throughout through types, etc., may seem new and strange. However, if you read the New Testament carefully you will see that not only Jesus, but also many of the inspired authors, such as Paul and Peter, often used the Old Testament in this way.
Personally, I found THE PROMISED ONE: Seeing Jesus in Genesis a stimulating study. I love that it points to Christ, unifies the Bible around God’s overall redemptive plan, and brings out many important gospel truths from the Old Testament, as well as application of those truths on issues such as shame, fear, and the desire for significance.
Let me end with a testimonial by someone who has used this book in her ministry – Jennifer Adamson, Director of Women’s Ministries at First Baptist Church in Orlando, FL: “Many of us have grown up in the church learning and reciting one Bible story after the other, but how many of can clearly connect those stories with clarity and understanding of the grand drama? The Promised One will lead this generalization to clearly recognize that the Bible is God’s purposeful story – an amazing unfolding of his promised provision through Jesus. I pray your eyes and mind will joyfully recognize him as the Promised One, making your heart burn with a deeper and more passionate love for the Savior.”
P.S. On a similar subject see the following book review by Greg Strand, EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, who serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee.