We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded by your direct support for ReKnew and our vision. Please consider supporting this project.
The Twist that Reframes the Whole Story
Many people read the Bible as if everything written within it is equally authoritative. As a result, people read it along the lines of a cookbook. Like a recipe, the meaning and authority of a passage aren’t much affected by where the passage is located within the overall book. The truth, however, is that the Bible is not at all like a cookbook. It’s a story, along the lines of a novel. And it’s a story with a very surprising twist.
The Bible could be compared to the movie The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis. In it, the last few minutes reveals an unexpected twist that requires you to rethink every single thing that took place previously. The whole Old Testament leads up to, and is fulfilled in, Jesus the Messiah. But the particular way Jesus fulfills it reframes everything. Hardly anyone saw this coming! In fact, Jesus completes the story of God’s dealings with Israel in a way that was so unexpected, most who were looking for the Messiah couldn’t accept him once he came.
For example, most Jews were looking for a Messiah who would reinforce Israel’s status as God’s favored nation by leading a revolt against its oppressors (the Romans) and reinstating it as a sovereign nation. Jesus instead turned Jewish religious nationalism on its head. His message inaugurated a kingdom that included “outsiders” (gentiles) and his way was one of loving enemies instead of revolting against them.
In fact, not only does Jesus not lead people in a military conquest over their enemies, he allows himself to be executed on a cross to reveal God’s profound love for enemies. And in this scandalous and unexpected action, his followers discerned the ultimate revelation of God’s true nature. With his life, ministry, teaching, and especially his sacrificial death, Jesus provided a picture of God and his kingdom that forces us to reframe everything that led up to him.
This means that we should read the Old Testament through the lens of the revelation of God in Christ, and especially through the lens of the cross, which sums up everything Jesus was about. This is how Jesus himself suggested we should read the Scripture when he taught that all Scripture is about him (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39-47). It is also implied by Paul’s teaching that the Spirit has removed the “veil” over our “hearts” and “minds” (2 Cor 3:14-16) so that we can now see the “glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ” as we read Scripture. And it’s reflected in the way various authors of the New Testament read the Old Testament. In sharp contrast to the common teaching of modern evangelicals that Bible interpreters should always stick to the “original intended meaning” of a passage, the way New Testament authors use the Old Testament reflects little concern with this. Their primary concern was rather to see how it points to Jesus.
—Adapted from Benefit of the Doubt, pages 176-183
Photo credit: HckySo via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC
Tags: Bible, Bible Interpretation, Cruciform Theology, Jesus
Topics: Attributes and Character
On Biblical Interpretation
chad via Compfight Today we’re linking to a blog post from Rachel Held Evans about Biblical interpretation. In her post, Rachel writes about the complexities Christians encounter when our scriptural interpretations differ (emphasis is Rachel’s): What is perhaps most frustrating about engaging in such conversations within the evangelical community in particular, however, is that differences…
A Foolish and Weak-Looking God
The New Testament assumes that the God of Israel and the God revealed in Jesus Christ are one and the same God. But there also can be no question that the portrait of God that was unveiled when the Messiah arrived on the scene was in some respects quite different from what the OT had…
Podcast: What Do We Do When the Bible Sends Mixed Messages?
Greg considers how to interpret mixed commands in the Bible—where one verse advises differently than another. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0364.mp3
Lighten Up: Love Your Enemies
Image from Manna and Mercy by Daniel Erlander
A Brief Theology of the Trinity
“The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity.” This is the maxim introduced by the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner that should shape our discussion of the Trinity. It is simply a short-hand way of saying that since the way God is toward us in Christ truly reveals God,…
Typhoon Haiyan and “Natural” Evil
Greg recorded his thoughts a few days ago on Typhoon Haiyan and the reality of “natural” evil that’s not really natural at all. “This an enemy has done.” (Matthew 13:28)