Jesus, the Center of Scripture
Paul declared that Jesus was nothing less than the very embodiment of all of God. This distinction of “all of God” is important for us to understand what it means for us to see Jesus and God rightly. Battling proto-gnostic teachers who were apparently presenting Christ alongside other manifestations of God, Paul declares “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9; cf. 1:19). His statement could hardly have been more emphatic:
“All” (pan)—not some
“of the fullness” (plērōma)—not a part or an aspect
“of the Deity” (theotēs)—not a lesser divine being.
As F.F. Bruce notes (regarding 1:19), Paul is asserting that, “all the attributes and activities of God—his spirit, word, wisdom and glory—are disclosed in [Christ].” This staggering statement is teaching that all there is to know about God is found in Jesus, for all that makes God God was embodied in Jesus. And all that makes God known to us is found in Christ.
In addition to being the one revelation of God, he is also the one mediator between God and humans, as stated by Paul when he wrote “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5). There is no other. The singularity of Christ’s role of mediating the life between humanity and God can only be understood as encompassing all of the revelation of God in Scripture.
Since Jesus is our one and only mediator, the mediating role that Scripture plays can’t be understood as taking place alongside of Jesus. It rather must be understood to mediate our knowledge of God as well as our salvation by participating in the mediation of Jesus.
More specifically, Scripture serves as an “intermediary mediator” by participating in the union of God and humanity in Christ. Hence, Scripture is the “secondary text” that mediates, and points us toward, the “real text,” which is the mediator Jesus Christ, in whom “all the fullness of God” dwells. Our view of Scripture as an “intermediary mediator” of God’s Word must therefore “reflect the fact … that Jesus in his person is the true Word and content of scripture…”
A similar line of reasoning is employed by Graeme Goldsworthy when he argues that, if “Jesus is the one mediator between God and man,” then Jesus himself must be “the hermeneutic principle for every word from God.” Insofar as Scripture mediates God’s revelation and salvation, in other words, it does so by pointing us to, and even participating in, the God-human as our one and only mediator.
This also applies to Christ’s mediatory role as the “head” of the cosmos, in which everything in heaven and earth will be reconciled to God and brought to a unity (Eph. 1:10; Col 1:19-20). This is speaking of Christ as the telos (the end goal) of all things, which implies that Jesus is the prime goal of all biblical texts. Since Christ is the one and only mediator, in other words, we can only see him as the mediator who is the ultimate subject matter of all mediating words of Scripture. And since Christ, as the cosmic mediator, is the ultimate telos and interpreter of all things, we must similarly consider Christ to be the ultimate telos and interpreter of Scripture.
All who interpret Scripture from a Christian perspective must assume that, ”…no text in either Testament exists without some connection to Christ.” The key question that we must ask is how any text testifies to Jesus. Until an interpreter has disclosed how a text does this, they have not disclosed its ultimate meaning.
 F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, Philemon and to the Ephesians, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eermans, 1984), 207.
 “The Atonement: The Singularty of Christ,” lix
 Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, 252, cf. 62.
 Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, 252.
Photo credit: Ben White via Unsplash
Greg responds to challenges by William Lane Craig from Craig’s podcast “Reasonable Faith.“ Craig argues that Greg’s model of reading the bible through the lens of Jesus Christ is simply Greg’s way of rejecting the dictation theory of inspiration—which everyone does. Greg denies this and claims that his view of inspiration is more than simply…
The ReKnew Manifesto exists to encourage believers and skeptics alike to re-think things they thought they already knew – hence our name, Re-Knew. I am currently working through the theology of the Manifesto in a series of posts that began a couple of months ago. Over the last few posts, we have been looking at the…
For eight years Greg has been researching for and writing the book entitled The Crucifixion of the Warrior God. In it he confronts the commonly held idea that the Old Testament depictions of God behaving violently should be held alongside of and equal to the God revealed through Jesus dying on the cross. But if the Old Testament…
We are saved because Jesus became the curse of the law for us (Gal. 3:13). So too, the way Christ freed us from the condemnation of sin and enabled us to “become the righteousness of God” was by becoming sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). What is more, since the curse of the law includes enslavement to…
The origin of human sin and the world’s oppression goes back to a deceptive, untruthful picture of God given to Eve by Satan. Jesus came, in part, to finally reveal the absolute truth about God. He is the way and the truth (alethia) and the life (Jn 14:6). The word “truth,” literally means “uncovered.” And…
In yesterday’s post, we discussed how challenging it can be to believe in the reality of a spiritual realm in the modern world. Today, let’s look at how Jesus’ ministry relates to this spiritual reality. While Jesus and his followers of course believed that God was the ultimate Lord over all creation, they clearly viewed…