- Paperback: 267 pages
- Publisher: IVP Academic (March 8, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0830816933
- WTS Books
According to the Preface, Knowing Jesus grew out of the the sad reality that many Christians who love Jesus knew little about “who he thought he was and what he had come to do.” Wright’s burden in this book is to demonstrate that the deeper we go into understanding the Old Testament, the closer we come to the heart of Jesus. The book is divided into five chapters, which are then divided into several subheadings: 1. Jesus and the Old Testament Story. 2. Jesus and the Old Testament Promise. 3. Jesus and his Old Testament Identity. 4. Jesus and his Old Testament Mission. 5. Jesus and his Old Testament Values. For Wright, the Hebrew Scriptures tell a story which is picked up by the New Testament writers, and a story which finds its culmination in Jesus the Messiah. In a word, it is the story of God on mission, to put the world to rights. This is at the heart of Wright’s theology in Knowing Jesus.
A Brief Interaction
Wright takes on what he terms “The Two Covenant Theory.” He sees this as unbiblical for the following reasons: He goes on to show how unbiblical this view is: first, it ignores that fact that Jesus is Jewish, “came within Israel, to Israel and for Israel.” Second, it fails to take into consideration Jesus’ mission to Israel and God’s purpose of extending salvation to the Gentiles. Third, it utterly subverts Paul’s view that at the heart of the Gospel is the fact that God has created new humanity out of both Jews and Gentiles, because Jesus was not just Israel’s Messiah but the new Adam.
Regarding Romans 11:26, “And in this way all Israel will be saved,” Wright believes this refers to the grating in of the Gentile nations. “It was by that means, in that way, that ‘all Israel will be saved'” (p. 171). But Wright’s point only stands if indeed God’s original promises, though not replaced or uprooted, but have been redefined around Jesus’ death and resurrection. A point which Wright argues from Ephesians 2:15-16 and 3:6 (p. 177). This is a position that I’ve recent come to myself.
If you’re looking for an example of how to do biblical theology; if you’re looking to avoid practical Marcionism, focusing only on the New Testament, concluding that the Old Testament is optional; and if as a preacher you find yourself hesitant to preach Christ from the Old Testament, let me highly recommend Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Christopher J.H. Wright.