A CRITIQUE OF CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT’S
“KNOWING JESUS THROUGH THE OLD TESTAMENT”
AN ESSAY SUBMITTED TO DR. CURTIS FITZGERALD
IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE COURSE OBST 591
LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
MARTA N. LUNA
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE BOOK
Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright, (Ph.D., Cambridge), author of Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament,1 is an academic scholar of Old Testament ethics, who taught at the Union Biblical Seminary (1983-1988) and served as Director of All Nations Christian College (1993-2001). At this time Dr. Wright is leading the Langham Partnership International, and is a team member at All Souls Church in London, England. The writings of the Old Testament take central importance as the author elaborates the concepts of the promise, Jesus’ identity, His mission, and the values found in the Old Testament, while taking the reader from father Abraham to the lineage of David, continuing with the exile account, and climaxing with Jesus’ era. It is the intent of this essay to convey, in agreement with the author, the value of the Old Testament in understanding the life, purpose and scope of the ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and how devaluated the study of the Old Testament has been in many of the Christian churches.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE BOOK
Dr. Wright’s book begins by presenting his position and reason for writing the book, focusing on the life of Jesus and the purpose for His coming.2 It is immediately followed by a presentation of Jesus’ humanity (Matthew 1-4)3 seen as member of the house of David, raised in the ways of the traditional Jewish upbringing. First, the history and genealogy of the Hebrews is utilized to explain the importance of God’s decision in choosing Abraham, to whom He issued the promise to give him descendants, make him a great nation, and bless the entire human race through him. Matthew covered the genealogy of those who followed until the time of the incarnation of the Messiah. Later, Wright discusses the different covenants presented in the Old Testament and its significance to the history of Israel and to the believer. He defines “promise” and “prediction”: a promise from God requires a response, it comes by grace, has to be accepted, responded by faith and demonstrated obedience4; a prediction does not require a response, and it may come true or not.5 Even though the Old Testament has many “predictions”, the covenants do not fall in that category, because there is an established relationship between God and man, and were guaranteed to be fulfilled. Next, the author observes that all of these covenants ‒Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and New Covenant6‒ are linked by the active involvement of creation and mankind in it as well as the universality of the scope, for God’s desire is to bless all nations of the earth, deliver from their enemies and spread justice to humanity. The themes in the New Covenant run through prior covenants. Second, Jesus’ identity becomes the focus of discussion, for He is the Son of God and the faultless representative of Israel, corroborated by the Old and New Testament writers.7 Israel’s relationship with God was of a father-son type, symbolic of the personal-individual and national bond with Yahweh, and what is expected of Israel in this correlation. Then, the author presents Jesus’ mission within the New Covenant. The Son of Man from the book of Daniel and the Servant of the Lord from the book of Isaiah, are portrayed and given a new dimension and meaning.8 Wright states that the role and duties delegated to Israel are now assigned to the believers: “Christian mission, it is true to the whole biblical pattern, cannot be confined to verbal...
Bibliography: Spicer, Fr, Jack. "The Identity of Jesus." Edmonton Journal, Feb 07, 1998, http://search.proquest.com/docview/250612394?accountid=12085 (accessed on February 2, 2013).
Wright, Christopher J. H., “Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament”, (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
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