In a new book, Free Methodist Elder Janet White helps Christians discover the significance of the Old Testament and the unifying themes of the entire Bible.
“I’ve always liked the Old Testament, and I think, unfortunately, many Christians don’t read it except maybe for the Psalms,” White said in an interview. “I really feel like the Bible is one book, one story — God’s story — and it really centers around Jesus.”
White’s book, “The Trail of Three Trees: From Paradise to the Promised Land,” helps readers see how the Bible’s “familiar stories are connected to one another and to the whole as well as pointing to the Messiah.” White said the Bible has two trees that form bookends — Genesis’ tree of life in the Garden of Eden and Revelation’s tree of life in the New Jerusalem. In the middle is the cross, another tree of life that humans originally intended as a tree of death.
White has a master’s degree in biblical studies, and she previously served as a discipleship pastor at the Woods Free Methodist Church in Stanwood, Michigan. She began writing down her insights from the Old Testament for herself to document what the Lord was teaching her. She realized other people need to learn the significance of the Old Testament, and she decided to turn her reflections into a book, which took three years to research and write. She said many Christians know some of the Old Testament stories from Sunday school, but they don’t understand why those stories are in the Bible.
“Unless you know both the Old Testament and the New Testament, you don’t realize some of the hidden truths that are there,” White said.
White describes “The Trail of Three Trees” as “biblical fiction” that “follows the biblical narrative (using biblical language) from Genesis through Deuteronomy, but with added dialogue, thoughts and visions that connect characters and events both backward and forward.”
White took dialogue from the New Testament and other parts of the Old Testament and worked it into chapters based on earlier portions of the Bible. For example, the book’s first chapter includes the angels praising God with quotes from Psalm 148:1–2 and Revelation 4:8.
White said some readers have questioned the inclusion of quotes from other parts of the Bible in chapters based on the first five books of the Bible, but she believes her approach is appropriate to reveal how “it all fits into the big picture.” She noted some biblical passages refer to other passages.
“I have a very high opinion of God’s Word and did not want in any way to dishonor it,” White said. “
The book includes questions for reflection, discussion and study. It also has endnotes that reveal the scriptures from which White draws. Visit janetfwhite.com to order the book and for more information.2