Do you read your Bible in a Christ centered manner? I ask because pastors are “usually” taught to preach in a Christ centered way. So Christians should be following along looking for and hearing about Christ.
How do you do it? Well, frankly it is quite simple.
Types: if there is a figure, usually one in authority, ask how is this person a type or foreshadowing of Christ. What does this person accomplish that only Jesus could accomplish in the ultimate sense? In what way did the person falter in life, showing that someone better is required?
Anti-types: maybe the figure in the narrative is evil, or just a really bad king or person. You still then have a shadow of what Christ is not, what we are in sin, and so what Christ came to restore and redeem. In an ultimate sense you have those who are enemies of Christ who are either saved by grace, or who will one day be crushed by Him.
Themes are another way to see Christ in all of Scripture. There are themes that run throughout the scriptures from Hebrew texts to Greek, that escalate and only find resolution in Jesus. Here are few prominent themes to watch for.
•Need for a king and kingdom
•Holiness and Mercy of God contrast
•The restoration and increase of God’s presence
•Righteousness vs. nakedness
•Image and likeness
•Judgment and judge
•Word and wisdom
•Law and fulfillment
In each case it’s not a stretch at all to move from one of these themes found in a story, psalm, or wisdom passage, to Christ and the resolution He alone brings to these tensions.
If all you heard on Sunday was Christian jargon, history, background, Hebrew and Greek word etymologies, you likely got a doctrinal sermon. If you mostly heard personal stories about the pastor, and how you are to “use” the passage as motivation to live a certain way, you got a devotional sermon. If you mostly heard about how bad the world is, and something about the current sociological, economic, or political situations, you got a cultural transformation sermon.
Now I’m not saying that any of these are bad, but they MUST have Christ as their center, because He is at the center of whatever passage was used for the sermon given. Doctrinally all teaching is about who Christ is and what He’s done, and your knowledge of facts is nice, but are grounded in a real live person, who happens to be the only begotten Son of God. Devotionally you are never going to live the way the Bible prescribes unless you know and trust the only one who lived totally devoted to God to the point of a death He didn’t deserve. Culturally, the world will not change just because you tell them how bad they are, but that you first come to the one who died that the world might be redeemed person by person.
Find Christ in the passage and you’ve found the sermon. If you’ve found Christ as the focus of the passage you’ve also found your application as well.