As part of the blog tour for How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens I agreed to review some of the chapters on the Minor Prophets. Dr. Michael Williams, professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary.
This book is aimed at the general Christian rather than a scholarly view, each book of the bible is featured in a chapter allowing the reader to develop an understanding of Jesus throughout scripture in 260 pages, which is no small feat. The chapters are structured in a similar way with:
- Theme of the book – including a suggested memory verse
- The Jesus Lens – how does the theme link to Jesus
- Contemporary application
- Key questions – driving home both understanding and application
I found it a little bizarre that each chapter of the Bible gets given the same amount of coverage in this book – I would have expected Isaiah, for example, to be considerably longer the space devoted to Nahum.
In terms of content I think it can be a helpful Bible study tool, but I found his approach to the minor prophets frustrating. Williams consistently over-simplified the theology to a prophetic message of judgement, with Jesus being the eternal hope. It may be due to restrictive size of the book, but it came across as emphasising the God of the Old Testament is harsh and that the God of the Old Testament and Jesus is loving. I’m always wary of an individual trying to provide such an authoritative understanding of such a wide range of scripture, for example you don’t read I. Howard Marshall digging into the Minor Prophets, even though I’m sure he has some understanding in them, instead he is renowned for his knowledge of Luke-Acts.
It strikes me as a helpful reference tool that I would use when trying to get an understanding of how a specific book fits into the wider narrative of scripture but not much else.
Go check out a sample if you want to know more.