How do the Books of the Bible Reveal Jesus?
The Bible is One Book
The Bible, although made of many books written over a long period of time with many different writers, comes together as one complete volume. From start to finish, it's all about Jesus Christ.
Divided into two parts, the Old Testament sets the stage for the Messiah and the New Testament reveals who he is. The word Testament comes from the Hebrew word berith which means covenant, compact or arrangement between two parties. The Bible is God's contract with man, promising redemption through Jesus.
The books in the Bible are not arranged in chronological order but rather by category. The Old Testament is organized by the Law, History, Poetry, and Prophesy. The New Testament is divided into the Gospels, History, Epistles or Letters and Prophesy. Although the layout is not inspired by God, it does serve to show us the preparation of the Jewish nation for the coming Messiah and his kingdom.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
The first five books of the Bible are called the Law. The Law lays the foundation for Jesus and introduces the moral life necessary for the kingdom of God. It prepares God’s people for the Messiah and gives a picture of the need for a Savior. The rituals, sacrifices, ceremonies, and festivals all tell a part of the story of who Christ is and what he would do for us.
Genesis shows how God chose Israel to be the nation from whom Christ would come.
Exodus is a picture of God redeeming his people. It demonstrates the need for a redeemer which is found in Christ.
Leviticus is about sanctification. It describes how God’s people are made holy, set apart from the rest of the world for Gods purpose. They are set apart to be the nation through which His son would come.
Numbers tells about God guiding his people through the wilderness. It shows how the Israelites unbelief kept them from an abundant and fulfilling life. In the same way, our unbelief in Jesus keeps us from the same.
Deuteronomy is God’s instructions to his people. Most of the first generation is gone and it is soon time for the next generation to enter the Promised Land. Moses goes back over the law that God had given them and reminds them of the importance of obedience and remembering God's word.
The Historical books of the Bible show the national life of Israel as their nation takes root. It shows their preparation for Christ and his kingdom. It also demonstrates their need for him.
First, Israel had to conquer the land God has given them. This is detailed in Joshua, Judges and Ruth.
In 1 Samuel the Israelites establish themselves as a kingdom.
2 Samuel through 1 Kings chapter 10 shows David and Solomon expanding the empire.
1 Kings chapter 11 through the book of 2nd Kings we see people turn away from God over and over again. The kingdom is divided and the people are carried off into Assyria and Babylonia.
But God doesn’t forget his people. The book of Esther shows his protection and preservation of the Jews living among foreigners.
After their 70 years of captivity, Ezra brings them back to their land and begins rebuilding the Temple.
Nehemiah rebuilds the walls around Jerusalem and the nation struggles to reemerge.
As the nation takes root in preparation for Christ, the people look up to the LORD and the promised Savior with worship and song in the Books of Poetry.
In Job we are given a beautiful description of the power of God, and we get a taste of the spiritual battle going on around us. Job’s friends preach a “health and wealth” gospel, but we learn that only God is in complete control.
The book of Psalms was used as the hymn book in the second Temple.
Proverbs teaches us wisdom and shows the results of sin.
Ecclesiastes tells us that everything is useless without a relationship with God.
Song of Songs, although it is enough to make us blush, represents the affections between Christ and his church. The bride is unworthy but the bridegroom covers all her defects, gives his life for her and claims her as his own.
Finally, the Prophets looked to both the immediate and distant future. They warn the people of the consequences their actions will bring on if the nation doesn't turn back to God. They also tell of both the first and second coming of Christ and what he would do for his people. These books show what the nation was to expect from the coming Messiah.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The first four books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. They are four different viewpoints on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. They show us how the expected Messiah was manifested to the world. What was concealed became revealed as Jesus came to us in the flesh. Each gospel writer presents Jesus in a different light.
Matthew focuses on the sovereignty of Christ and pictures Jesus as King
Mark concentrates on his ministry and paints Jesus as a Servant
Luke shows us his humanity and portrays Jesus as a Man
John explains his deity and tells us that Jesus is God
Acts is the only book classified as History in the New Testament. It tells us how the gospel of Jesus spread into the world and how the church, as the Bride of Christ, began.
These are all letters written by the apostles or their associates interpreting Christ and his work. They teach us the doctrine of Christ and tell us how to apply it to our lives.
Finally we have the last prophesy in the Book of Revelation. In it we have the revelation of Jesus Christ as he brings everything to completion. The book of Revelation gives us the signs of Christ's return and is given to encourage us to be ready for him. It is interesting to note that every generation has seen itself in the predictions but we really don't know when the end will be.
Giesler, Norman & William Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible.Chicago: Moody Press, 1986
Thompson Chain Reference Bible
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