As we saw in our last post, how we interpret scripture is so important. To read scripture with our eyes jaundiced by received theologies and denominational prejudices keeps us in darkness. To believe scripture to be Holy Spirit inspired, infallible and an inerrant authority for us, does not eliminate misunderstandings or erroneous interpretations. The requisite for how we interpret scripture is a Christological and Trinitarian understanding: seeing through the lens of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ and the Triune God of Love and Grace.
Remember, the best translation is the Incarnation! Jesus did not come to give us and leave us with an inerrant book of rules and regulations. He is not an example for us to imitate. He was not sent to finely hone our ‘almost there’ theology so we could, thereafter, carve out a rough replica of the Christ Life. No! He came to reveal our seamless Union In Him, to introduce you to the real you!
In John chapter three, we are introduced to Nicodemus, a champion of the people and loved by the religious elite. He was not just any Pharisee but the Teacher of all Israel. Pharisees made a business out of dissecting God’s Law and creating literally hundreds of extra commands and stipulations based on their own interpretations, to which they held everyone accountable. But, mastery of the written word and consummate observance of all parsed edicts, rules and regulations only served to keep Nicodemus blind when he actually met his Messiah. For Nicodemus, God had to fit into his interpretation of scripture: all else would be a seemingly inconceivable, unfeasible and heretical gospel. Indoctrinated in Law and ritual, Nicodemus failed to comprehend the Light.
We must not allow ourselves to be deluded by persuasive arguments or high and lofty speech. Christ alone is to take us captive, not philosophy or empty deceptions after the religious traditions of men. These may have the appearance of wisdom promising a form of righteousness, but are of no value whatsoever. (Col. 2.)
Such is religion, believing “I am not but I can be if…”. Religion places responsibility for salvation, redemption and reconciliation firmly on your shoulders. That’s not good news, nor The Good News. It is no way to interpret scripture, either!
Thank God, Holy Spirit loves to bear witness with our spirit! As we determine to see the Golden Thread of Grace throughout all sixty-six books, we can cry “Abba! Father!” We not only learn to see with new eyes, but are transformed by the renewing of our minds. All this, is unto the Joy of our participating In the very Life of God Himself, in experiencing Father’s Loving of us. If we detach the written word from the Author, it kills, becoming a ‘How to…‘ manual or a “Step by Step Guide…’ Believing the lies of separation and alienation simply enslaves us in blind religious devotion to a golden calf, having created God in our own image.
Therefore, most important of all, allow Holy Spirit to lead you as you read and interpret scripture. Ask to have your mind renewed, which, let’s be honest, we all need. This renewal Paul speaks of, in using the word anakainōsei means a completely new way of thinking, a co-knowing with the Higher Thoughts of God. Once we see such Truth, the written word becomes liberating, joyous and simply dripping with Grace.
Grace must be drunk straight! No Additives. No wise or persuasive words to impress others or promote our own prejudices. Truth is True whether we believe it or not. We do not need to put our spin on it.
So, here are a few essentials that will serve to remind us how we are to interpret scripture and, thereby, encounter Truth. Keep these essentials close to serve as a litmus test as you open the pages of your favourite translation and with Holy Spirit’s lead, venture forth:
- The written word of God reveals the Living Word, The Logos of God, Jesus Christ: God’s eternally begotten Son Incarnate. And Him, Crucified, Descended, Risen and Ascended, and us In Him. Therefore, we can say with confidence that the Bible is neither an instruction manual nor a ‘how to’ manual. It is not a ‘step by step guide’ to salvation or heavenly ascent.
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.” John 5:39.
- All scripture, from Genesis to Revelation is an unfolding Revelation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is why Trinitarian Theology and Christology is absolutely vital to our understanding and experiencing of Father’s Heart. We cannot read the New Covenant for example, with an Old Covenant mindset. We must do so through the only lens that helps us see clearly and through which, the veil has already been lifted. Holy Spirit will bear witness, revealing the Mystery hidden from all ages…Christ In you! It is Finished!
- Therefore, there is no perfect written translation of scripture, only the Perfect Word – The Very Logic of God – The Logos, Jesus Christ. He is all hermeneutic, eschatology, word searches, bible study, exegesis and all mystery!
- God is Love, and love always implies communion between persons. And that is what was see in God Himself (Triune) from all eternity, and in His purposes for creation. The Father Loves the Son In the communion of the Spirit and the Son Loves the Father In the communion of the Spirit, In their mutual Indwelling and other centredness: perichoresis. (From J.B. Torrence: Foreword in “God is For Us” C. Baxter Kruger)
- It is this Triune God of Grace who created mankind to participate In this Life of God, that we too might find our true being In intimate loving communion with Him and one another. (From J.B. Torrence: Foreword in “God is For Us” C Baxter Kruger)
- These Glorious purposes are brought to fulfilment for us, with us and In us by Jesus Christ who draws us by the Spirit Into the very Life of God. (From J.B. Torrence: Foreword in “God is For Us” C Baxter Kruger)
- The Gospel is not a transactional contract!! It is Covenant. A Covenant instigated and fulfilled by God entirely. Jesus is God’s “Yes!” and Man’s “Amen!”
“But, by His doing you are In Christ Jesus who became to us Wisdom from God, and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:30.
What mankind could never achieve through personal discipline or willpower – as taught in every religion – God’s Faith accomplished In Christ. Our righteousness, holiness, sanctification and justification Is Him! Of God’s design are we In Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of All things: The Eternal Son Incarnate, Risen and Ascended! We are In Him, seated with Him In Father’s bosom, In the Anointing and Communion of Holy Spirit!
All His doing! All In All! Finished! It’s All Him! Brilliant! I Love it!! You are freed to live His Life.
Now, pick up your Bible, grab a coffee and read on!
As He Is
How we look at/interpret scrictpure is indeed so important! And is behind some of the biggest lies we often believe, when we misinterpret it or taint truth with our own ideas. Thank you for sharing this in the eyes of Grace!
Thank you Iona. You are such a blessing. Grace!
I have loved this series on Interpreting Scripture! This one especially is so helpful. Wonderful post!
Thank you Malana! I am delighted you have enjoyed this series. You are so encouraging. Grace!