Christopher Wright is known for his work on Missiology or what is called a ‘missional hermeneutic’ and the relationship between both Testaments. In Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament (Knowing God Through the Old Testament Set), we see a similar approach in that Wright highlights the role of Israel throughout the Jewish Scriptures and how they are used as a vehicle to bless the nations. Wright gives an overview of what he calls the ‘Old Testament Story’ and discusses how the covenants should be seen as more of a ‘promise’ than anything else. One of the strongest points for me was Wright’s explanation of typology and how Christians tend to abuse it. In other words, the tendency to look for Christ in every part of the Old Testament and then simply look at the book that Jesus and Paul were raised on as simply ‘shadows’ can tend to lead to Christians to devalue the Old Testament Scriptures. Hence, there is a great tendency to say once Christ came, the Old Testament is viewed as simply a story of Israel that is now finished. Thus, God has moved on with the Church. Wright’s highlight’s the fact that we as Christians must take seriously the order of the mission of Jesus and Paul’s calling “To the Jew first.” Wright rightly rejects dual covenant theology and affirms the New Testament model that mission does still include Israel. After all, since Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, this qualifies him to be the Savior of the world. He cannot be one and not the other (pg180). Wright also affirms Paul’s view that Gentles don’t replace Jews but the expansion of Israel includes Gentiles from all nations. (pg 174).
Wright does a splendid job of tying in weaving both Testaments together so that Christians can understand the deity of Jesus, and that the values of Jesus which are based in the Jewish Scriptures. It seems to me that since we live in a day when there are a slew of books about the ‘story’ of the Bible, there are many superficial treatments of such an important topic. Wright’s book is one of the most understandable treatments available to the Christian. Christians tend to think ‘salvation’ is simply about ‘getting saved’ and going to either ‘heaven’ or ‘hell.’ But unless Christians know the story of Israel and the relationship between Jesus and His people, they simply can’t grasp how broad the word ‘salvation’ really is. I am pleased to recommend this book for discipleship and study groups!