Book Review: The Word of the Lord
Author: Nancy Guthrie
Publisher: Crossway Books
Reading Level: Moderate
“Jesus was the great prophet that all the prophets pointed to. Yet he was not just a messenger declaring a message from God – he is the message.” p.65
Human nature tends toward the comfortable, causing many of us to keep our distance from the Old Testament prophets. Nancy Guthrie, in her study The Word of the Lord; Seeing Jesus in the Prophets (henceforth Word of the Lord), tackles this tendency by covering nine prophetic books in a ten-week study. Acknowledging that the Prophetic books are “in some ways, the most difficult part of the Bible to grasp,” Guthrie develops a challenging yet accessible study to bring the prophets more fully into the student’s grasp.
Structurally, the study begins with an introductory week and then engages one prophetic book per week for the following nine. Comprised of four sections, each prophetic book is initially dissected with a “Personal Bible Study” asking questions and encouraging engagement with the text. Next, in the section titled “Teaching Chapter,” Guthrie focuses on main themes, challenging as she teaches. The final two sections, “Looking Forward” and “Discussion Guide” review, respectively, future fulfillments of prophetic truth and questions to examine in a group setting. While each book will not be completely read or entirely clarified (Isaiah in a week is simply unreasonable!), these four sections cohesively present the reader with a working knowledge of the prophet and his “word from the Lord.”
Woven throughout the study is the understanding of “message.” Each prophet was such because he had heard a word from the Lord, a word meant to teach, correct, and warn. Guthrie pulls no punches, declaring the truths of these messages applicable in our own covenant status with God. She also uncovers the truths about Christ in each prophetic book, noting in particular that God is able to “far surpass those limited physical blessings and to bless us ‘in Christ with every spiritual blessing (Eph.1:3).’” These wide and varied blessings are brought into focus as Guthrie reviews the diverse circumstances in which the prophets speak.
Her final teaching chapter is slightly disappointing in its emphasis on the conclusion of the “second act” (New Testament) with Christ’s return. While Christ’s return is highly anticipated, her qualification that only in the second coming “the promise will have been fulfilled,” and the “Lamb of God will have taken away the sin of the world,” followed by declaring that only then shall Christ “come to live with us” seems to ignore what has been fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection and establishment of a new covenant.
The depth of insight and knowledge throughout this study is impressive. Guthrie provides a link to download a leader’s guide for free, and persists in pointing the reader back to the text with questions, commentary, and discussion points. Guthrie’s obvious joy in studying the prophetic books is an encouragement; anyone interested in delving deeper into the message spoken by God through his prophets will benefit from reading The Word of the Lord.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.