Monday, May 21, 2018

Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick looks at the story of Jesus and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus and concludes, “All of Moses' writings, the Psalms, and the Prophets were actually about him, his suffering, his glorification.” (Loc 1654/2159) She is quite clear that the Old Testament does not merely contain references to or truths about Jesus. She writes that Jesus was saying that “everything he read,” that is, the Old Testament, was about himself. (Loc 260/2159) Fitzpatrick also reminds readers that Jesus loves women, loves to instruct them.

That really piqued my interest because there are some Old Testament passages that troubled me as a woman. There are OT passages that value women much below men. An example is Lev. 27:4 where the value for a man's vow is 50 shekels while a woman's is 30. Fitzpatrick had emphasized Jesus' love and honor for women so I was interested to see how these kinds of passage would be interpreted.

But I was disappointed. Fitzpatrick picks the typical examples of Abraham, Hagar, Ruth, Esther, etc., that show gospel qualities. She doesn't choose a story like the unnamed woman in Judges 19 who died because of being abused by a mob, thanks to a Levite.

Fitzpatrick went from assuring readers that ALL the Old Testament was about Jesus to picking out stories and passages that can be related to Jesus and His work. Rereading Luke 24:27 it seems to me that Jesus explained all the parts of the Old Testament that were about Himself, not ever claiming that the entire Old Testament was about Himself.

Fitzpatrick brings up an interesting concept about finding Messianic fulfillment meaning in all Bible passages. She notes that reading the Old Testament this way means “we often have to hold two sometimes very different meanings in mind at the same time.” (Loc 1304/2159) She is clear that we do not ignore the original intent of the passage yet see Jesus in it too. In this way, the Proverbs 31 woman becomes a description of the bride of Christ. (Loc 1171/2159)

I have mixed feelings about this study. I think Fitzpatrick makes way too many assumptions, like that Clopas' wife was Jesus' aunt. This is based on John 19:25 where Fitzpatrick concludes that the sister of Jesus' mother is the same as Clopas' wife. There was no punctuation in the original Greek but modern translators insert a comma, making them separate people. Fitzpatrick argues that Clopas and his wife were the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. We just don't know that.

I would think this study would be best done in a group setting so these issues could be discussed and not just taken at face value. There are questions included for discussion or personal reflection.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Elyse Fitzpatrick is a nationally known author and speaker. She holds a certificate in Biblical Counseling from CCEF, and an MA in counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. She has authored twenty-three books on daily living and the Christian faith. You can find out more at https://www.elysefitzpatrick.com/.

Bethany House Publishers, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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