Reviewed by: Robert E. Torullo
Date posted: 02/24/2008
The Prophets Speak of Him: Encountering Jesus in the Minor Prophets, by Anthony Selvaggio. Published by Evangelical Press, 2006. Paperback, 196 pages, list price $15.99. Reviewed by OP pastor Robert E. Tarullo.
Have you ever gotten to the final books of the Old Testament while reading through the Bible and said to yourself, "Maybe I can skip right to Matthew"? Or maybe you plough right though them just to get done, because you know you are supposed to read them, but haven't a clue as to their usefulness for the church today.
If you struggle with reading and understanding the Minor Prophets, then I have a book for you. Anthony Selvaggio, pastor of College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, has written an excellent collection of essays "to 'unveil Christ' from the words of the Minor Prophets so that you will be 'drawn to come to him and receive him'" (p. 14).
Selvaggio provides an informative introduction, making simple the difficult aspects of reading the Old Testament accurately. After a survey of the historical background and the themes of the Minor Prophets, he moves on to discuss interpretive principles and pitfalls.
Selvaggio identifies three ways to see Jesus in the Minor Prophets; these guide him throughout this book. The first is to note and understand the explicit references to Jesus, such as Hosea 11: 1 (cited in Matthew 2: 15, "Out of Egypt I called my son"). The second involves typology. For example, Hosea's relationship to his unfaithful wife, Gomer, serves as a type of Christ's relationship to his bride, the church. The third method is to see how themes run through the Bible. For example, the theme of repentance dominates the prophecy of Joel, and it is also a major theme in the ministry of Jesus.
Each chapter follows a helpful outline. An interesting and applicable illustration is followed by a brief entrance into the prophet's historical setting. A statement pinpoints the heart of the message of the prophet, followed by a discussion question. These questions will challenge you to meditate on God's Word and consider how your life may or may not be conformed to it.
In the end, Selvaggio provides the church with a book that comes from the heart of a pastor, full of wisdom, depth, and simplicity. This book is highly accessible, and I recommend it to all students of the Scriptures for its fine biblical exposition and application. Selvaggio effectively unveils Christ in the Minor Prophets in a way that is profound and edifying.
When you come to the Minor Prophets, have this book at hand.