Jesus made it a point to show how the Old Testament was talking about His coming into the world. He once told the Pharisees that they search the scriptures thinking to find eternal life, and the scriptures are the very thing that talks about Him. Yet, the religious leaders will not come to Jesus for life. He told his disciples that the Law, the prophets, and even the writings all talked about Him. He told those who professed belief in Moses that Moses was writing about Him. At His resurrection appearances, he told the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and then the whole group, how the whole Old Testament was about Himself. Paul continued this teaching also. At the beginning of the book of Romans (Romans 1:2-3) he explains how he was “set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures concerning His Son, was descended from David according to the flesh.”

Hughes says, “His (Paul’s) task was not to proclaim a theological novelty. The gospel was in the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul longed to announce, ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the [Old Testament] Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15:3). So much of the Messiah was revealed in the Old Testament. Who would Jesus’ mother be? A virgin. Of what house was he to be? Of David. Where would he be born? Bethlehem. What name would he be given? Immanuel. What death would be his? The cross—piercing the body without breaking his bones. Where? At Jerusalem, outside the city. Paul’s task was rooted as far back as the Garden of Eden, the patriarchs, and the prophets.”[1] Briscoe agrees and adds, “There was always criticism of Paul’s message, particularly from his fellow Jews, who, as a result of the Dispersion, were scattered all over the regions in which he traveled. Many of them accused Paul of manufacturing his own message, but he was at great pains to show his critics that, far from being a new fad, his message was the one which God had ‘promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures’ (v. 2). Using the only Bible available in those days, the Old Testament, Paul delighted to do what his Master had done with the troubled disciples of Emmaus: ‘beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself’ (Luke 24:27). The fact that Paul was able to show his critics that the gospel he preached was the fulfillment of what the prophets had predicted went a long way toward establishing the credibility of both messenger and message.”[2]

Most preaching and teaching on the Bible today is done in a way to exhort us to be better people. We should be like David in his devotion to God but not in his adultery and murder. We should be like the children in the fiery furnace and stand strong. With this being the normal approach to the scriptures, it is natural to understand the Bible as “a well-meaning series of morality tales, or an anthology of philosophical musings, or an archaic rulebook that ought to remain confined to hotel-room drawers. Indeed, increasing numbers of people today believe that Scripture is downright dangerous, a tool to oppress the weak and prevent the gullible from being true to themselves.  Churchgoer or not, if you resonate even slightly with any of these sentiments, I have some great news for you.” That’s not what the Bible is about. “The Bible has one ultimate plan, one ultimate plot, one ultimate champion, one ultimate King.” The story that Paul is proclaiming as Good News, is the story of Jesus. “If we ever hope to properly handle the stories in the Bible, we must first grasp the story of the Bible. And that story, the one that traverses its way from Genesis to Revelation, though recorded for you, is not finally about you.”[3] It’s all about the Savior of the world.

[1] Hughes, R. Kent. 1991. Romans: Righteousness from Heaven. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] Briscoe, D. Stuart, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. 1982. Romans. Vol. 29. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.