Many years ago, some friends of mine began teaching me to understand all of Scripture through the lens of Jesus Christ. The more that I grow, the more I realize that understanding Scripture requires me to consider how it points to Christ. Obviously, this requires the honing of skills in order to make accurate observations/interpretations. The scarlet robe in the story of Rahab is not a connection to Christ. An example of responsible, Christ-centered, interpretation means seeing that God delivers His people out of the hands of the enemies, and even offers refuge to Rahab who (though not Jewish) identifies herself, by faith, with God’s people. That parallels Christ’s deliverance of us by faith. Lord willing, more examples from Scripture will follow in the days ahead.
Here are just a few Scripture passages that most clearly provide the foundation for a Christ-centered reading of Scripture:
“Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27, 44-47).
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have eternal life.” (John 5:39-40)
“But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23; cf. 8:34-35)
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20)
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
“Jesus Christ, whom the two Testaments regard, the Old [Testament] as its hope, the New [Testament] as its model, and both as their centre.” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 12.740)
In other words, the Old Testament is fundamentally about Jesus Christ in that it portrays Him as the long-awaited Messiah, the Obedient Son of God that is typified by various persons and practices (i.e., Moses the deliverer, David the anointed King, the Temple, the sacrificial lamb, etc) that are imperfect. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament hope that points to Him. The New Testament is fundamentally about Jesus as the fulfillment of the OT hope and God incarnate. He is the fullness of God manifested in the flesh. Jesus is the Obedient Son who not only models godliness for us, He also succeeds in every place that we have failed. He is our model, both as an example and as our Substitute. Our sin was exchanged for His righteousness. Both Old and New Testament take Christ as their center-piece, their foundation, their supporting pillar, their climactic expression of the revelation of God. Reading Scripture in light of Christ means seeing the gospel from the OT seed-form all the way to the mature flower that it has blossomed into throughout the NT.