Things Christians Overlook: The Bible Has a Thesis (Hint: Christ)
I have talked about this before on this blog, and I'm sure I'll talk about it again, because it is incredibly important. I think that many Christians of the past century were taught to read the Bible rather flatly. That is, there is no peak in the canon which all preceding materials foretells and all following material explores. But there is such a peak: it is none other than Jesus Christ.
Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44-46"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them,
This post is not okaying any and all interpretations of Scripture so long as they purport to point to Christ (as if I can okay anything). No. We must be responsible Christocentricists. We can acknowledge that some texts foreshadow and disclose Christ's coming and work more clearly and fully than others. We can at times confess, both to ourselves and to our congregations, that the Christocentric connection is rather abstract due to a lack of clarity on our part (thus emphasizing our exegetical weakness and the Bible's mystery more than its lack of anything). With these caveats stated, whether you are a preacher or a politician, a teacher or a tradesman, a homemaker or a teenager, you are called to read the Bible as if it has a thesis, namely, the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament foreshadows Christ, the New Testament discloses His person and work in fullness (see the above texts). Thus, every text of the Bible in some way relates to the gospel of Christ, and every Christian must learn to the read the Bible with this rich, invigorating, glorious thesis. God in His wisdom wrote the Bible through men, and He did so with a distinct thesis in mind: He wrote the Scripture to tell of Himself, to illuminate the character of men, to record a history of His dealings with men, and most significantly, to point to Christ and His work as the center, the apex, the pinnacle, of the Word.
Let us read the Scripture accordingly--not as a book of sixty-six fascinating but loosely connected books, but as a collection of diverse authors and subjects who nonetheless speak a single central theme: the glory of God as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let us not ignore this matter; if we do so, after all, we're not disobeying a bunch of fanciful theologians who comment on the Bible. No, we're disobeying Christ, the One who wrote it.
Further reading: Dennis Johnson, Him We Proclaim: Proclaiming Christ from All of Scripture, P & R, 2007.