Reading and understanding the Old Testament correctly means reading and understanding it as Jesus did. And he saw the Old Testament, from beginning to end, as speaking of himself. “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life,” Jesus told the Jews. “These are the Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39). Later, in the same conversation he told them that their rejection of him meant they didn’t believe what Moses had written, since “he wrote about me” (5:46). And after his resurrection, talking with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
Few of us find Christ in the Old Testament, however, except for the prophecies about his birth and death. “We find moral lessons, theological doctrines, and nuggets of wisdom,” Dr. Dan Doriani notes, and though these are not insignificant, they are not sufficient. “Jesus himself told the disciples that all Scriptures speak of him,” Doriani says. “Jesus does not simply figure in the Old Testament as the object of prophecy. He figures in all its pages.” Being discerning as a Christian requires us to read the Scriptures so that the truth of God’s word renews our minds and shapes our view of life and the world. So if Christ is present on every page of the Old Testament, the discerning Christian will want to find him there.
Charles Drew, an associate pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, has written a book to help us find Christ in the Old Testament. The Ancient Love Song is written by someone who loves the Bible, knows it well, and delights in teaching it to God’s people. This is not a dry exercise in biblical hermeneutics, but an unfolding exposition designed to forever change how we read and understand the Bible. “The Old Testament is a rich and beautiful proposal of marriage,” Drew writes, “designed to win not only our faith but also our affection. Sadly, we are generally so ignorant of this packaging that our love remains unkindled.”
Drew takes us into each part of the Old Testament—history, poetry, wisdom literature, and prophecy—showing how Christ is central in each. As he develops his message, he shows how the unfolding biblical story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation is the story of Christ, from beginning to end. And being a good teacher, he not only allows us to listen in as he interacts with the text, but provides study questions with each chapter that force us to read and study the Bible for ourselves, sharpening our ability to read it as our Lord did.
We recommend The Ancient Love Song to you. Read it, do the study exercises, and then dig into the Old Testament better equipped to find Christ in its pages.
SourceThe Ancient Love Song: Finding Christ in the Old Testament by Charles D. Drew (Phillipsburg, PA: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing; 1996, 2000) 203 pp.
Doriani from “Getting The Message Seminar,” an unpublished manuscript by Dr. Daniel Doriani. Drew from The Ancient Love Song, p. 2.