Brandon D. Smith & Everett Berry
Rainer Publishing, 2018. 240pp.
In December 1962 W.A. Criswell delivered a sermon to the people of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX where he followed what he termed as the scarlet thread through the Bible. This scarlet thread was the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. In They Spoke of Me the authors seek to do much the same as Criswell did in that sermon as well as what Jesus himself did when he appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The authors state “Jesus showed those disciples how various parts of the OT were written about himself. He revealed how he was the key to unlocking the complete meaning of the OT as God’s Word. Therefore, what we want to do is cover nine examples (of many!) that illustrate Jesus’s claim” (p. 19).
Through the nine examples the authors hope to leave the reader with a better understanding of how the Old Testament and New Testament connect as well as how the Old Testament speaks of Jesus in that grand narrative. At the end of each chapter the authors have a place for discussion that can be helpful individually or in a group. It gives the reader an opportunity to reflect upon what they have just read, be honest with themselves about their understanding, and seek application to their lives.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Often times today the Old Testament may be neglected in favor of the New Testament. After all we are a New Testament church. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the people are not aware of the grand narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. “Biblical theology rightly done is Christ-centered, that Jesus himself unlocks the story of the Old Testament” (p. 13). This work by Smith and Berry helps the pastor to better understand the connection between Old and New Testaments with examples from the varying genres of literature found throughout the Old.
It is also a great resource to begin a discussion with your people regarding the usefulness and application of the Old Testament. The pastor does not need to shy away from teaching the Old Testament due to a lack of understanding. This work will give the pastor a basic understanding of how that scarlet thread runs through the entirety of Scripture. Just as Jesus spoke to the disciples on the road to Emmaus so the authors are trying to speak to us today that we might see the grand story of redemption through Jesus Christ, present throughout the Scripture. I would leave you with this question presented in the final pages by the authors, “How can the reader “get Jesus right” without understanding the OT, which he says is about him?” (p. 222)
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
This Lifeway Pastors review was written by Chance Dodd.