Would you like to read a first-person story from the apostle John? A story that is fiction and based on historical accuracy and biblical truth? A book that is actually three stories, a trilogy in one volume?
The New Covenant book by Bob Emery is a well-researched drama that places you right in the heart of discussion between the apostles in the first century.
Emery’s three goals for the book are:
- To retell this wonderful story in a new way,
- To draw out spiritual lessons for us today, and
- To frame a proper understanding of the New Covenant and how it relates to Israel of the first century and today.
These three goals present a tall order for any author. And Emery pulled it off!
The New Covenant book, as a trilogy, is in three parts:
1. The Messenger: From Garden to Glory
John has conversations with Titus in and around Jerusalem in AD 58. As they discuss the history of what happened to Jesus Christ during the “Last Week,” they also cover the geographical and historical lessons around Jerusalem and the temple.
John took all of his experiences and described to Titus where they happened, the significance and meaning of activities at the temple, and what the five types of sacrifices mean for us today (as they are fulfilled in Christ).
2. The Message of the New Covenant
How did the first century church understand the message of the New Covenant? How did the apostles collect the books we now know as the New Testament? And when was “the canon” (the 27 books of the New Testament) officially decided?
The answers may surprise you.
In this second book of the trilogy, Bob Emery shares through this story (once again told from John’s perspective) the plausible sequence of events to collect the 27 books. Through a series of meetings with Peter, Paul, Luke, and others, they assembled the books that we call the “New Testament” and verified the unique message of each book that they included.
Each book in the New Testament reveals Christ in a way that none of the others do.
This part of the book also weaves in the events in Jerusalem during this time period (late 50s-60s). I’m glad Emery included the historical stories of what happened to people in first century Israel. More and more Christians left Jerusalem as the years went by. When you read this section, you’re smack-dab in the mounting tension between the Jews and the Romans. The Zealots incited rebellion. Emperors changed. The priests in the temple had skirmishes with the guards in the Roman tower at Jerusalem. It was a time of increasing conflict, all the way up to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
3. The Marriage: The Final Revelation
Emery says that to have an accurate interpretation of the book of Revelation, you must include the historical perspective. How would the first century believers interpret it? The way that Emery sets up John’s retelling of his last book (what we call Revelation) puts it in a historical light that perfectly matches the accounts from Josephus, the Jewish historian.
If Revelation has been difficult for you to understand, make sure you read this part!
The Stories in The New Covenant Book Make Scripture Easy to Understand!
For a generation that’s tired of the old, old story presented in the same, old three-point sermon, The New Covenant book (in fact, all three books) serves as narrative exposition, not verse-by-verse commentary.
Overall, this book will:
- reveal Christ to you in fresh, new ways
- share practical discourse on the Old Covenant’s types and shadows
- harmonize the account of Jesus’ betrayal, trials, and crucifixion in a chronological way like you’ve never read it before
- give you glimpses of God’s Eternal Purpose
Two great quotes from the book are:
The only reason for the church to exist is to hold up, support, and display the magnificent Christ! If it fails at that, it has ceased to be the church.”
“That deep longing in our hearts began to be satisfied as our attention focused more on knowing Christ himself—not just knowing about him, but knowing him.”
What Halley’s Bible Handbook was to our grandparents, The New Covenant book is for us today: a resource that ties together all of Scripture in an accessible way and reveals Jesus throughout, for it’s Him who the Bible reveals on every page!
You may find a few paragraphs that you don’t agree with. That’s OK. As you read this book, don’t be nit-picky with theology, just keep reading the story. You’ll be glad you finished it!
Emery also includes an appendix that puts the Lord’s Supper in a new light, too.
Carve out time to read The New Covenant book. Put it on your shelf between Frank Viola’s From Eternity to Here and The Untold Story of the New Testament Church. And feel free to lend it out to your friends!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC 16 CFR, Part 255.