In Jesus on Every Page, David Murray attempts to show readers how all Scripture points us to Jesus. The thesis of the book is based on the Emmaus road narrative in which two disciples were met by Jesus who proceeds to explain all that is written about Him in the Law and Prophets. In the book, Murray explores the different Old Testament passages and genres to show that the authors, inspired by the Spirit, foreshadow the coming Messiah and King. For example, in the Pentateuch, we read about the promised Seed of Abraham who will make his name great and bless all the nations of the world. Even in the Poetry and Wisdom books, Murray explains that the true King of Israel proclaimed in Psalms and the true Wisdom described in Proverbs can only be perfectly realized in the God-man Jesus Christ. Through many other examples, Murray helps readers see that the people of the Old Testament, though only knowing in part and in shadows, put their faith in a future Saviour. Thus, the OT is not merely a historical record of Israel that bears no relevance to Christians of the new covenant. Instead, Murray reminds us that the Old Testament books we read are the very words that Jesus Himself read, meditated, and taught during His earthly ministry. If Jesus is the One that we put our faith in and He is found everywhere in the Old Testament, how can we ever deem the OT as being irrelevant or unimportant to us today?
I would definitely recommend this book to those who struggle to find the connection between the Old and New Testaments. Murray avoids employing any technical terminology and uses various passages to guide readers in finding Jesus in the Old Testament. We may often favour the New Testament because we feel the teachings seem easier to understand and the contents appear more relevant to our everyday lives. Conversely, the Old Testament comes across as out-dated, incomprehensible, and challenging to read. Murray argues against this way of thinking and encourages us to dig into the Old Testament to see how Jesus is embedded in each and every word. Furthermore, as those who have access to the entire canon of Scripture, we are able to put our faith in the revealed Saviour, something those who have gone before us like Abraham, Moses, and David were only partly aware of. Thus, let us pick up our Bibles and savour with renewed wonder, awe, and thanksgiving how each and every word of Scripture displays and reveals Christ.
“Family worship, like all kinds of worship, is a means of grace and is not to be viewed as a burden or task to be accomplished. It is something we do in response to God’s grace, not to earn it. We often approach it legalistically, and doing so not only kills the joy of worshipping God, but is antithetical to the relationship rooted in grace that we have with God. Worship is not to be a weight around our necks, but a means of lifting our heads up.”
Jason Helopoulos in A Neglected Grace
In Living for God’s Glory, Joel Beeke introduces readers to the roots of Calvinism and how it is considered “true religion” in the words of B.B. Warfield. This book spans nearly 400 pages and touches on a vast array of themes showing how Calvinism impacts every aspect of a Christian’s life. The six parts of the book investigate the historical roots, doctrines, and practical outworking of the thoughts that originated from the reformer John Calvin. Although Beeke wrote the majority of the chapters, there are several other contributors including Sinclair Ferguson, Ray Pennings, and Michael Haykin. As a whole, I find the book to be a valuable resource for those unfamiliar with the depth and breadth of Calvin’s thinking as he wrote extensively on many topics to focus believers on the glory and sovereignty of God in all aspects of life. What the author makes clear though is that Calvinism as a whole may have originated from Calvin’s work but later developments from other reformers, scholars, and pastors have also defined Calvinism as we know it today. The Puritans were likely the group that most effectively popularized Calvinism in their congregations, households, and governments. I especially enjoyed the section on Christian piety and the Christian home which undoubtedly are the specialities of the Puritans. Men such as Owen and Bunyan understood that holiness is the key to enjoying and glorifying God to the utmost. To our detriment, the theology and spirituality that we practice in evangelical circles today have strayed far from that of the reformers. The result is a stunting of the Christian life which leads to a myriad of grave implications to family, church, and society. Thus, throughout the book, Beeke continuously urges believers to rediscover the rich theology of our spiritual forefathers such as Calvin and the Puritans. The only weakness that I can point out is that throughout the book, there seems to be a lack of critique and discussion on the weaknesses of Calvinism. Although the authors do point out in several places where Calvinism was twisted to fulfill unintended purposes (e.g. political gain), actual examination of Calvin’s theology and its shortcomings were mostly avoided. Naturally, this may well be part of the author’s intent to keep the book short but critique is also an important way of fully appreciating the topic in question.
I would happily recommend this book to those unfamiliar with Calvinism and its wide-ranging applications to the Christian life. The book is not technical in terms or theology but the average layperson may be bogged down by some of the historical details and unfamiliar topics such as philosophy. Thus, Living for God’s Glory may be more suitable for those more familiar with theology in general and have an appetite for digging into the topics more thoroughly. However, I am thankful for Beeke and the other contributors for putting together a solid work that introduces Christians to Calvin’s thought and theology.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Reformation Trust of the book in exchange for a book review.
“You have unlimited room for growth in holiness because Jesus is the bottomless well of salvation. You cannot go to Him too much for holiness, for He is holiness par excellence. He lived holiness; He merited holiness; He sends His Spirit not only to bring sinners to Himself but also to make them holy like Himself.
Joel Beeke in Living for God’s Glory