18 February 2011

The Key to Understanding Everything

John Wenham, British New Testament scholar of a generation ago:
If Christ is the source, sustenance, and goal of history, then the real meaning of everything in the experience of Israel and in the experience of mankind is found in him. It is because Jesus is the representative of Israel that words originally spoken of the nation can rightly be applied to him, and it is because Jesus is the representative of mankind that words originally spoken by a psalmist can be 'fulfilled' by him. Christ is the key to the understanding of everything and everything points to Christ. For this reason the significance of the Old Testament is not exhausted even by the fulfillment of its predictions and prefigurations.
--John Wenham, Christ and the Bible (IVP 1972), 107

This has become one of the classic books making the rather obvious yet powerful point that one argument for a high view of Scripture is the high view Jesus himself had of Scripture--a high view of Christ, therefore, entails a high view of Scripture.

Along the way Wenham paints a helpful portrait of how Jesus himself fulfills that Scripture. A similar book, equally eye-opening, is R. T. France's Jesus and the Old Testament. Simply fascinating. I do find Wenham somewhat more satisfying, however, because unlike France, Wenham sees Christ as historically climactic not only because he sums up Israel but also because he sums up all humanity (a la Rom 5:12ff). That is right. He is the true Israelite; he is also, more broadly, the true Human.

Abiding in him (John 15), we are restored to true Life. We become human again. We are home once more. As Lewis said, the toy soldiers are coming to life. All for free.

1 comment:

Jeremy Treat said...

I love this book. If anyone hasn't read it, I put together a little outline of the book's main argument.