From my earliest days as a Christian, I’ve been fascinated with what Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me” (HCSB).
“They testify about me,” he says. What does that mean—what does that look like? This is something people have been trying to understand for centuries. Jesus’ first disciples didn’t get it at first. They didn’t get it until Jesus himself taught them following his resurrection.
A while back, I read an article (I lost the link, sorry) talking about what the author saw as a danger in what he called a Christ-centered hermeneutic, which is a fancy way of saying interpreting Scripture with a focus on Christ. His concern was about reading Jesus into places where he isn’t and doing a disservice to the context and authorial intent of a given passage. This is something to be concerned about.
This is something to be concerned about because it is irresponsible biblical interpretation. But good, God-glorifying, Christ-exalting Bible study recognizes that what Jesus said is true: All Scripture—every story, jot & tittle of the Law, every proverb & psalm—testify about Jesus. All of it. All Scripture bears witness to him in many ways, by promising his coming, telling us what would do, and demonstrating our need for him (and occasionally, he even makes a genuine appearance pre-incarnation).
But this raises an important question: how do we focus on Christ in our study while doing justice to the text? How do we avoid irresponsible interpretation and the trap of allegorization and overreaching typology? And how does what we learn about Christ transform how we live?
There are plenty of great books out there and dozens of brilliant commentaries for different reading levels. For the average person, one of my favorite series is B&H Academic’s Christ-Centered Exposition series, edited by David Platt, Daniel Akin and Tony Merida. The scholarship is as rigorous as any serious commentary series, but they’re written with the layperson in mind. They’re intended to help you understand the text, how to apply it, and how Christ is exalted through it.
In fact, I’m such a fan of this series that I’ve teamed up with my friends at B&H Publishing for the final Christmas giveaway to give one of you the entire collection (that’s 20 volumes, gang!) and a few additional resources to help you focus on Christ during the coming year:
Here’s what one individual will receive:
- The Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series:
- Exalting Jesus in Galatians by David Platt & Tony Merida
- Exalting Jesus in James by David Platt
- Exalting Jesus in Ephesians by Tony Merida
- Exalting Jesus in 1, 2, 3 John by Daniel Akin
- Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus by David Platt, Daniel Akin and Tony Merida
- Exalting Jesus in Matthew by Daniel Akin
- Exalting Jesus in Mark by Daniel Akin
- Exalting Jesus in Ezra and Nehemiah by James M. Hamilton Jr.
- Exalting Jesus in Exodus by Tony Merida
- Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Thessalonians by Mark Howell
- Exalting Jesus in Philippians by Tony Merida and Francis Chan
- Exalting Jesus in Leviticus by Allan Moseley
- Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Kings by Tony Merida
- Exalting Jesus in Ezekiel by Landon Dowden
- Exalting Jesus in Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi by Micah Fries, Stephen Rummage and Robby Gallaty
- Exalting Jesus in Song of Songs by Daniel Akin
- Exalting Jesus in Ecclesiastes by Daniel and Jonathan Akin
- Exalting Jesus in 1 & 2 Samuel by Heath Thomas and JD Greear
- Exalting Jesus in Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk by Eric C. Redmond, William J. Curtis, and Ken Fentress
- Exalting Jesus in Revelation by Daniel Akin
- The Christ-Centered Expositor by Tony Merida
- I Am Going by Bruce Ashford and Daniel L. Akin
- All Authority by Joey Shaw
I’ve already explained why I think you’ll appreciate the commentary series, but consider the remaining titles. The Christ-Centered Expositor is a companion volume that encourages readers to understand what effective expository (systematic, verse-by-verse) preaching is, and where it starts (in the expositor’s heart). I Am Going and All Authority really focus on a natural practical application of Christ-centered study: the call to mission. To live as ambassadors of Christ in the world, in order to fulfill the Great Commission. Both will serve you well, challenging you without creating the usual sense of guilt and shame that follows most books on these subjects.
To enter this giveaway, use the handy-dandy Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, December 27th at midnight. Winners will be notified within 48 hours.