Monday, March 29, 2010

Thoughts on Scripture

Conservative Christians usually tend to approach the Biblical text analytically. We break it down into chapters, paragraphs, verses, sentences, clauses, phrases, words, prefixes, roots, suffixes, jots and titles. In doing so do we strip the Word of God of all mystery? Is it important on how we approach the Biblical text? Do we approach the text to try to "prove" a point, doctrine, or oppinion? Or do we approach the text holistically? Do often as believers try to say that the word of God can be easily understood? Do we commodify the Bible to other modern products, its easy! Fast! Convenient!? Is it??? Is there passages that bother, confuse or concern you? Should we approach the text with a missional approach? What you are and suppose to be and do? Should we drop proof texting? Should we focus on the big story, always moving toward our place in its ongoing trajectory? Do we value marginalized readers and readings? Do we think of the Bible as a book of answers and questions? Does we allow the text to motivate us to go deeper becoming students, seekers and learners?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Anonymous laymond said...

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

So searching the scriptures to see if what we believe or hear is encouraged in scripture and as Christians we should also be ready to provide a reason for the things that we believe.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

10:56 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thank you so much for commenting. Are there passages we won't and can't undertand? What do you think about 2 Peter 3:16? Do we tend to make scriptures seem to easy to understand? Can we give an answer on everything or is it okay to say I don't know?

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Tim Archer said...

I think that we need to approach the Bible with greater reverence, seeking to be mastered by Scripture rather than seeking to master it. We need to focus on hearing the Word, large sections of the Word. We need to dedicate more time in our public assemblies to the reading of God's Word.

Those are some of my initial reactions to your questions.

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

12:39 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

I have wondered just what Peter was talking about when he said Pauls letters containd words that were hard to understand.
I have come to one conclusion that satisfies my own curiousity, not trying to push my thoughts on others.

John used the word grace a total of three times, and never as a means of salvation. Paul and an associate of his Luke used the word many times. Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (and ) Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

It seems here that Luke and Paul are saying we are justified by grace only. and they say it many times in their writings.( I have my doubts that is what they meant to say,but it has caused much confusion)
No other apostles used the word to describe salvation.

Yes others used the word but never in the way Paul and Luke imply that salvation is by grace only.
Although Peter never specifies just what he is talking about , it could be the way in which Paul never explains just how we are saved through the grace of God. Just my opinion.
And I do believe we should try to understand scripture as best we can.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I thought of the word bibliolatry when I read your first question Kinney. When I think about bibliolatry I often think about people who read the bible to merely know what it says (like reading a text book) instead of reading it to know God. I think that many, like the Pharisees, know the letter of the scripture but not the heart of it.. can give you a Greek definition of compassion but haven't a clue of what it looks like.. know what the book says but really don't know God.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Keith Brenton said...

I think it's important to try to read the Bible while suppressing any preconceptions you might have. It's not easy, but it can be done. (It's like trying to listen to the speech by a person of opposite political views from your own, sometimes!)

When you read it again, I think it's very helpful to do so with a "Jesus hermeneutic." That's just a way of looking at scripture and trying to see Jesus, even in Old Testament passages; even in the ones which aren't called prophecy.

I don't mean just playing "Where's Waldo?" with Jesus standing in for Waldo. I mean deeply searching and thirsting for truths about God and His Son wherever you go in scripture.

I've reached the conclusion that scripture points to God through Christ - through the eyes of a man who was also God, and helps make His infinite wisdom, grace, love and righteousness easier to understand by making the spiritual something tangible; literally becoming God in the flesh.

11:27 PM  
Blogger iam said...

2Cor. 5:17 "...old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"

I believed this with all my heart when I knelt and surrendered to christ and the godhead. 25 years later my christian marriage began it's slow death due to sinful addiction which I had carried since my childhood (so I was accused). My hearts desire was to minister; to evangelize; to teach the love of the living word; to be as surrendered to god and his word as a heart could be. BUT NOTHING ACTUALLY CHANGED.

Where was (is) god? I asked for a loaf and got a stone. I asked for a fish and was left holding the serpent I came with (I thought my faith had laid it at the foot of the cross).

What good is a Word when there is no actual effect. What good are empty promises? What good is a cry of "abba, father" but there is no response, no comfort, no healing? 36 years is too long for a child to wait to experience his father's protection. Too long for a father to refrain from keeping his promise.

So this Happy Apostate will tell you your truth is not the invariable, unchangeable object you may have faith in; or perhaps it is for you, but it is a different truth for someone else. So you can't explain away my truth with yours. Been there, done that, happy to have moved on.

Knock yourselves out, my friends.

-iam whoami

1:49 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

iam, I am terriably saddened by your experience of great expectations, and devistating letdowns, evidently brought on by believing this progressive ideology of "saved by grace alone", "if Jesus wants you he will take you", "if you are a true christian the holy spirit dwells within you", "if you don't have the indwelling you are not truly a child of God."
This kind of garbage has destroyed many people of faith, they came to God expecting much more than he promised, they came expecting Jesus had done all the work for them, they had only to reap what he had sown. That is not the way it works being a christian is a until death we part committment, and we have to work until the end, sometimes without witnessing the seed we have sown bearing fruit.
There is more truth in the old saying "God helps those who help themselves" than we like to admit. Being a christion is work, when we take on that title we need to bring our gloves and lunch with us. If you notice the bible refers to us as workers, solders, not masters and Generals.Get back in the ranks solder, pick up that cross and march forward.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

One more thing, this concerns all who wish to follow Jesus, if you are comming into the brotherhood of Christ with the expectations of receiving, instead of giving, you will surely be dissapointed.What did Jesus say about being a good leader, "first become a good servant" In my opinion, this progressive movement in the church is about what do I get?, not what can I give.?

9:35 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

@iam - I can relate to much of what you have said.. life has not turned out the way that I wanted it to.. prayers were offered for my first wife and she died anyway.. prayers were offered for my children and God did not seem present in their grief.. my second wife fell ill and prayers were offered but she got worse and is in a motorized wheelchair.. I understand what it means to be disappointed in unanswered prayers.

BUT I read in Hebrews 11 that people of faith throughout history died without receiving the things that God promised them. I look at the scriptures and I see people who endured hardship and endured even when God seemed absent. I read where Paul says when I am weak I am strong and get a different picture of what it means to live a life of faith.

I hope that your days are better these days and I am sorry that life has kicked you in the teeth. Sometimes life is not fair but I have learned to not confuse God with life.

Peace, Bob

10:12 AM  
Blogger Paul G said...

iam: If you are still reading these comments; thanks for honestly sharing the misery of your Christian life.
You are very patient and longsuffering to hang in there for 36 years, a quality I don't have.

I think that you have never been born again, perhaps you might have said a sinners-prayer and then joined a church and tried to be a good Christian by believing as good as you can without a new birth.
Well iam, that's the problem with most churches today, they come in the front door and go out the back door without having a new birth.

I am glad that you have stopped playing religion, but you still need to be saved.

From your comment, I can see that you never really came to know the Lord God the Almighty; you think that He is a Godhead of three persons or identities, a kind of a Trinity. For this reason no one of your gods will ever turn up, and when you call on them to give you a loaf you get a stone, or ask for a fish you end up with a serpent, that is because they are false gods.

Perhaps try one more time to call upon the true God and eternal life, JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth. He alone is the only ONE GOD who can give you life, who can hear you and manifest Himself to you. He alone can save you and CHANGE you so that you really are a new creation.

iam; You have nothing to lose, only to gain!
Please try one more time.
This time try to be determined to be born again and meet the Lord your God.
Go into you prayer closet close the door behind you and call upon His name 'JESUS'. Ask Him to cause you to be born again and fill you with His Spirit.,
Ask as long as it takes and be determined, till He turns up and then you will see the salvation of the Lord.
Lot's of love

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Steven Hovater said...

Wow, there's a lot going on in these comments!

I just wanted to say that I was reading something today from bonhoeffer that reflected the idea of the post. HE was trained as a critic (under Harnack), and while he saw the value of dissecting the text for information, he came to feel that that was an insufficient way of treating the Word. for him, the struggle was to become a person who could simply listen to the word, to receive it.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Paul G said...

Imagine a Trinitarian calling on his gods to give him a loaf of bread.

The first person of god says to the second person, 'hey! He's asking you to give him a loaf of bread', the second person said, 'oh no! I am too busy, he was not asking me but you, perhaps he could ask the third person, and after all it is his turn to do something good and give him a loaf'.
So they argued for 36 years till the loaf turned to a stone and the confused Trinitarian ended up with a stone.

So is it with everyone who believes that God is three persons or identities.

This satanic doctrine has been holding well meaning Christians in pits of darkness, so that they never came to know the power, the glory and the majesty of our wonderful God and savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Paul G. I would love to know what you think when you read things such as the following.

Jhn 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee.
Jhn 11:41 Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
Jhn 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said [it], that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Paul G said...

(John 11:22) At that time before Pentecost, Martha had the same problem like you have. She could not believe that the man, the carpenter from Galilee standing in front of her is the Lord God Almighty, the God of the Torah in Genesis 1:1, the creator of heaven and earth, even though Jesus said in John 11:26 "and whoever believes in ME will never die. Do you believe this?"
Martha thought like you that Jesus is the son of God just like Adam is the son of God in Luke 3:37, after all Jesus is called the second Adam.

(John 11:42) Jesus explains why He said (John 11:41), "I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
v.14+15 "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there that you may believe".

Laymond; can you see that all Scripture is written so that you would believe in Jesus and see His glory manifested in your life v.40, and not to believe in any other identity or person including 'Jehovah'.

John 10:38+ 14:11 'Jesus said, if you cannot believe me, then believe on the account of my works, that you may know and understand, that the Father is in me and I in the Father.'
John 11:40 then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that IF you believe, you would see the glory of God?"

Laymond; if you really would believe in Jesus, then (John 11:22) He would become a reality in your Christian experience, and you would know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of Jesus, Jesus will give [it] thee.
Just like Jesus said in John 14:12+14, 'I will do whatever you ask in my name, v.14 you may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.'
Again, if you would believe, then God (Jesus) would be your confidence and you would speak to dead Lazarus or a badly crippled wife, son, daughter, brother and sister etc. to come forth or rise up and be healed or whatever.
This is what I think of John 11:22+41+42.

But what you really meant was how can I reconcile the two that Jesus is the Lord God the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, while He also claims to be the son of God and the son of man or a servant of God and even prays to God, seemingly a serious contradiction.
But make no mistake, there is no contradiction!

For you to understand that, you need to know that Jesus fulfilled the law and its requirement and the Levitical priesthood and He established a new priesthood in the order of Melchizedek 'king of righteousness, king of Salem and king of peace. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.'(Hebr.7:3) and Hebrews the first 10 chapters including the OT. Explanations etc. Well brother, too much to say in a few sentences.
Lots of love

7:39 AM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

I don't think we are meant to understand everything. What I love about scripture is that something that may not have a personal meaning to you today, may 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 years down the road, be something you cling too. Something you don't understand today, may totally make sense to you when you are in the middle of a crisis. The beautiful thing about scripture is it is new every day. You can read the same scripture every day and every day it may have a different meaning depending on your circumstances. I love that!

7:38 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

From reading John Piper I learned the value of getting into the nitty-gritty propositions and grammar of the Scriptures. It has unveiled a lot and taught me a lot, mostly because it helps me to give priority to every inspired word.

But many folks have recently brought about a return to reading the bigger storylines of Scripture (focusing on a "redemptive-historical" approach) and on finding our place in it. I think both are needed and have their place.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Paul Ford said...

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-24

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 1 Corinthians 2:1-4

Way too much, mostly conservative christians spend too much time arguing to proove a point - much like the Pharisee's did - instead of preaching the simple truth of the gospel to those who are lost. Why waste time & energy on those who claim to be saved when you can preach the gospel to those who've never heard it and let the gospel speak for itself and allow God to work through it.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. - 1 Corinthians 1:17

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. - Romans 1:16 NIV

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