You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
There are two basic ways in which most people read the Bible.
One, moralism is where you read the Bible and only look for good things to do and bad things to avoid. This leads to what is called “works” theology where you work hard to both do the good things and not do the bad things. The hope is that you do enough good and avoid enough bad that God will be pleased with you and accept you. Moralism is not a Christian way of reading the Bible.
Two, a Christ centered reading of the Bible tries to connect the stories, themes, and details to the person and work of Jesus. This leads to what is called “grace” theology where Jesus accomplishes salvation for us by his works–namely his sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection. Faith in what Jesus has done for us gives us assurance that God accepts us because of Jesus Christ. Christ centered Bible reading is a distinctively Christian way of reading the Bible, and it is the way that Jesus teaches us to read it.
Religious leaders who came to argue with Jesus did not understand the numerous actions that point to Him in the Old Testament. For example, when a Priest offers a sacrifice for sinners in the Temple, it points to Jesus as our High Priest who offers Himself as a sacrifice for sinners on the cross in His body, which is the Temple of God’s perfect presence on the earth. When Jacob saw a ladder come down from heaven with the angels ascending and descending upon it between heaven and earth, it pointed to Jesus who would come down from heaven to take us up to heaven.
Practically speaking, there are many Old Testament leadership roles that Jesus fulfils. Priests point to Jesus our Great High Priest. Prophets point to Jesus as the Word of God. Kings point to Jesus as King of Kings. Shepherds point to Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Judges point to Jesus as the Judge of the living and dead. Teachers point to Jesus as our Rabbi teacher.
How do you view your Bible reading? Do you look for Jesus in every passage?