Top 10 Books on Christ in the Old Testament

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Other posts include:

Today I’m listing my top ten books on Christ in the Old Testament – the ones marked with an asterisk are more suitable for pastors and seminary students.

After my list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular. You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other.”

1. Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright.

One of the most eye-opening and thought provoking books I’ve ever read. Guaranteed to make you love Jesus more.

2. Preaching Christ from the Old Testament by Sidney Greidanus.*

Classic seminary textbook. Historical survey of the subject followed by most helpful step-by-step guide to preaching Christ from Old Testament texts.

3. Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett.

Shorter and more readable than Greidanus but covers a wider range of OT genres.

4. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture by Ed Clowney.

The first two chapters will transform the way you read and teach the Bible. Clowney sets forth the principles and practice of finding Christ in Scripture and then putting together a Christ-centered sermon. This is followed by a number of wonderful sermons that demonstrate the “how.”

5. The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.*

Especially helpful on typology, not just laying the foundational principles but also explaining numerous examples. Also wonderful insights on the Christ-centered nature of Old Testament law.

6. The Christ of the Covenants by O P Robertson.*

It was the second or third time reading this book before the covenants all fell into place for me. Transformed the Bible and my ministry.

7. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy.

First part provides the lenses with which to read the Old Testament, followed by many examples of how to preach Christian sermons from different genres of biblical literature. More thematic than exegetical.

8. The Unfolding Mystery by Ed Clowney.

More sample sermons demonstrating how #4 Preaching Christ in All of Scripture is put into practice.

9.  The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis by Nancy Guthrie.

Excellent Bible study series with a good mix of teaching, questions, and discussion starters. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament. See also follow-up Bible studies on various other parts of the Old Testament: The Lamb of God, The Wisdom of God, The Son of David, and The Word of the Lord.

10. Jesus On Every Page by David Murray.

Couldn’t bring myself to make this # 1. I’ll let the voters decide.

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and add a book if it’s not in the list.

Honorable mentions

If I’d had a Top Twenty the following books would also have been included.

Close Encounters with the Son of God by Jonathan Stephen. If this was still easily available it would have been near the top of the Top Ten List. It deals with the Old Testament Christophanies.

Christ in the Old Testament by Robert Gordon. Again, this four-volume set of sermons would have easily made the Top Ten if it was easier to get.

According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy. A simplified version of Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

Christ-centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chappell. Not specifically about preaching Christ from the Old Testament but much of the material will help with that.

A History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards. Covers more than the Old Testament but the Old Testament section, especially the early part, is pure gold.

The Ancient Love Song by Charles Drew. One of the most accessible and readable of books on Christ in the Old Testament.

Messiah in the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser.

Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures by Dennis E. Johnson.

Reader Suggestions

101 Portraits of Jesus on the Old Testament by Bob Beasley (HT: Shawn Anderson)

Look To The Rock by Alec Motyer (HT: Shawn Anderson)

The Messianic Hope by Michael Rydelnik (HT: Dan Phillips)

Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament by Gerard Van Gronigen (HT: Ray Fowler)

On The Trinity by Hilary of Poitiers.

Clavis Cantici by James Durham.

The Prophets Speak of Him by Anthony Salvaggio.

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever.


Check out

Church Planting in Grand Rapids?!?
Interview with my colleague Dr. Bill VanDoodewaard about a new church plant beginning in Grand Rapids.

Help, My Kids Are Looking At Porn
Tim Challies with some down-to-earth Gospel advice.

Why Men Have So Much Trouble Making Friends
Fascinating article. Good one for a Men’s Group discussion.

Should Couples Hold Hands in Church?
And one for the Youth Group!

How To Avoid Burnout (HT: Zach Nielsen)
Short, simple, do-able.

The Joshua Project
Staying with the them of outreach and mission, here’s a superb new website to stimulate informed prayer for the unreached peoples of the world.


Body Theology For Teens

I’m on my way back from The Calgary Reformed Conference where I gave three addresses on A Practical Theology of the Body. I also led a Youth Group discussion on the subject and left with them ten words to ponder when thinking about their bodies.

1. Study: God has revealed truth about the body in His Word and in His World (through science). In order to thrive physically, learn what you can from these sources and also by observing your own body’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. Exercise: Bodily exercise does profit – not as much as spiritual exercise but a little is more than nothing (1 Tim. 4:8). In order to serve God well, you need to work to keep your body in good health.

3. Fuel: Just as you take care to put the right kind and amount of gas in your car, do the same with the food and drink you put into your body. This is a stewardship issue with your most valuable resource. Remember the value that God put on your body (1 Cor. 6:20).

4. Rest: God made you to flourish best by working six days and resting a seventh. He also made you to thrive by sleeping. You really can Sleep Your Way to Success.

5. Protect: As the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), you should care for it better than you would your own home or even the White House. Defend your body by avoiding substances that damage it and experiences that can deface, injure, or even kill.

6. Submit: Although we should do #1-5, we must also accept that our fallen bodies are never going to be ideal or perfect. We must therefore submit to the unique and wise way God has designed us and accept our limitations, weaknesses, sicknesses, aging, etc.

7. Cover: God did not only make your body, he also made clothes to cover it for your own protection and also that of others (Gen. 3:21). And remember there are no prizes for covering in such a way that more is revealed than concealed. But neither is there a prize for covering with the ugliest fabrics, colors and designs.

8. Control: Your body has been imbalanced by sin and can easily take good passions for beauty, sex, strength, food, etc. and turn them into destructive lusts and obsessional desires. Be aware of your own particular weaknesses and take care not to fuel them so that they become your tyrannical master (1 Cor. 6:12)

9. Dedicate: Your body is from God and for God. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

10. Worship: Remember that Jesus took a real human nature, including a complete body with all its weaknesses and limitations (apart from sin). He also laid down that body to suffer and die for sinners like you, so that He could say, “This is my body, broken for you. Take, eat, in remembrance of me.”

What other words would you add?

Any books you would recommend on the subject for this age group? There are some good chapters in Matthew Lee Anderson’s book Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter To Our Faith, but I don’t think it’s very suitable for this age group.


Check out

31 Things I Wish I Had Learned In High School
A ton of good common sense advice here and a great conversation starter.

A 23-Year-Old Gay Marriage Opponent Explains Herself
It’s hard to believe we’ve got to the point where this is news, but a gay-marriage columnist at the Atlantic publishes correspondence from “Mina, who describes herself as a 23-year-old African-American college student, a strong Christian who believes in the Biblical definition of marriage.”

99 Resources to Make Your Personal and Business Life Hum
Sign up for Michael Hyatt’s daily email and he’ll send you a free booklet detailing the 99 tools he uses most in his personal and business life.

Preaching Wisdom Literature
See links at end of the article for the previous posts on this subject.

I Will Praise You in This Storm
Wow! Just Wow! READ THIS.

I may not be Billy Graham but I can serve God in a blue collar job (HT: Ann Voskamp)


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Here’s this week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf. And this is the second year in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books with Genesis and Matthew now complete (explanatory note).

Old Testament

New Testament


Thrive: Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder

thrive-huffingtonIf you awoke one morning in a pool of blood, you’d probably change your life.

That’s what happened to Arianna Huffington of Huffington Post fame after collapsing from exhaustion and smashing her cheekbone on a table as she dropped to the floor.

She was at the peak of her success, with money and power in abundance:

But I was not living a successful life by any sane definition of success. I knew something had to radically change. I could not go on that way.

Thrive is Huffington’s account of how she redefined success and turned her back on the workaholic lifestyle that had almost killed her. Using the illustration of a stool, she diagnosed what had happened to her:

Over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool—you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people—very successful people—are toppling over.

She then goes on to prescribe a third leg for a stable stool, or a third metric as she puts it:

To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.

  • Well-being is physical, mental, emotional, and relational health.
  • Wisdom seems a bit nebulous, but it’s some kind of inner wisdom that we can access by “centering ourselves.”
  • Wonder is our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives.
  • Willingness to give is generosity or charitable giving and serving.

Thrive is built around these four pillars with most space given to Well-being.

So, is this a book worth buying? I would say so, and here’s why:

1. You’ll find out a lot about one of the most talented and influential women in our culture. Huffington weaves her own story throughout, narrating both her successes, and her sadnesses, including her divorce and her daughter’s drug addiction.

2. You’ll learn lots of useful facts, research, and data about how to thrive. Huffington’s popular presentation of scientific research into human flourishing was the highlight of the book for me. Unlike Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project which didn’t have one footnote or reference for any of the myriad facts she cited, Huffington’s claims are well documented with over forty pages of endnotes.

3. You’ll be persuaded by her diagnosis. It’s painfully convicting, but Huffington will convincingly demonstrate many connections between the way we are living and the lack of life we are experiencing.

4. You’ll be able to use some of her prescriptions. There’s a lot of common grace in this book, many insights into human nature, and lots of good advice about how to flourish as human beings. Yes, there’s quite a bit of nonsense too, but it’s relatively easy to separate the wheat from the chaff.

5. You’ll have a renewed appreciation for Christianity’s sufficiency and suitability. I found myself feeling sorry for Huffington as she combed world religions and philosophies for anything that she felt might help people. A bit of Bible, a bit of Yoga, a bit of Hinduism, a bit of Hollywood, a bit of this, a bit of that, and a bit of everything really. She is one confused lady when it comes to religion, I’m afraid. What a blessing to have a clear, consistent, and comprehensive Christian worldview.

6. You’ll understand our culture better, not just the pressures people are facing but also what ideologies and practices they are resorting to as they seek help to survive or even thrive in this stressed-out world.

7. You’ll realize how important it is to get your smartphone under control. Huffington comes back to this time and time again throughout the book. But given the evidence she marshals for the damage our devices are doing to us, the emphasis is definitely warranted.

8. You’ll get motivated to meditate by its multiple benefits. You won’t want to follow Huffington’s techniques for meditating, but the  scientifically proven benefits she presents are a strong persuasive to biblical meditation.

9. You’ll learn how important sleep is. Lack of it almost killed Huffington, and having survived she’s now a sleep evangelist, who’s added me to her list of converts.

10. You’ll think more about death. What? Yes, Huffington wants us to think more about death! Let me finish with a quite astonishing section.

In fact, there may be no single thing that can teach us more about life than death. If we want to redefine what it means to live a successful life, we need to integrate into our daily lives the certainty of our death. Without “dead” there is no “alive.” Death is the sine qua non of life. As soon as we’re born, we’re also dying. The fact that our time is limited is what makes it so precious.

I vividly recall all the preparations I went through during my pregnancies: the Lamaze classes, the breathing exercises, the endless reading on the subject. How strange, I thought to myself one day, to spend hour upon hour learning how to bring life into the world, but hardly a minute learning how to leave it. Where are our culture’s preparations for leaving life with gratitude and grace? (p. 204)

Doesn’t that pique your interest even a little?