The Prophets Speak of Him: Encountering Jesus in the Minor Prophets
If you look behind some pulpits, you will find the words, "Sir, we would see Jesus." These words spoken by the Greeks, as they sought Jesus so many years ago, continue to be the cry of the people of God. They are put behind pulpits to remind preachers of the congregation's burning desire to see Jesus.
Selvaggio seeks to answer that cry by helping his readers to see Jesus in every book of the Minor Prophets. It is often said that the Minor Prophets are only minor in length, but not significance. The sentiment behind this statement could not be more accurate. But Selvaggio shows that there is at least one sense in which we can say that all the prophets are truly minor, namely in comparison to the greatest prophet, priest, and king, Jesus Christ, the One of whom the prophets speak.
In his introduction, Selvaggio clarifies the parameters of his book. The Prophets Speak of Him is by no means a verse-by-verse commentary, nor an exhaustive account of the implications of the Minor Prophets. Instead, Selvaggio focuses his attention on clearly proclaiming Christ from each Minor Prophet.
In order to teach Christ, Selvaggio employs three methods of interpretation. First, he uses direct references in the New Testament that connect the words of the Minor Prophets to Jesus. Secondly, he employs typology. This method connects "the Old and the New Testament by recognizing legitimate analogies" (12). Thirdly, Selvaggio connects recurring biblical themes to the work of Jesus Christ.
In each chapter, Selvaggio methodically sets the prophecy in its historical context and offers a simple explanation of the problem at hand. Once the reader has been made to see the need for a Savior, he drives straight to Jesus Christ.
Selvaggio sprinkles the book with applications and possesses an ability to show the relevance of each chapter to the modern reader. He also ends each chapter with study questions to further deepen the readers understanding of the Minor Prophets.
I appreciated Selvaggio's clarity of thought and expression. He never strays from his diligent pursuit of Jesus. This book is a valuable resource for the preacher wanting to interact with helpful methods for proclaiming Jesus from the Old Testament. While Selvaggio's book is beneficial to the preacher, he nevertheless remains accessible and simple, which results in this book also being a useful resource for a Bible study of sincere lay people who want to learn how to see Jesus themselves. Although the methods of interpretation employed in this book could certainly be abused and result in injustice being done to the text, Selvaggio does not seem to miss the mark.
Selvaggio's book is part of the Emmaus series, edited by John Currid and Robert Strivens. The purpose statement of the Emmaus series is "to speak directly to pastors, teachers and students of the Word of God on those issues that impact on their everyday ministry and life." Selvaggio certainly achieved that goal.
Anthony Selvaggio / Webster: Evangelical Press, 2006
Review by Nick Reid, Master of Divinity Student, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS