Friday, May 11, 2012

Overcoming Biblio-idolatry


The bible is inspired by the Holy Ghost. I want to get that out of the way right off the bat. That said, I have established over and over again in this blog that Jesus redefined the phrase *word of God* to be the gospel, or himself, the living walking gospel and gave scripture a solely redemptive focus (John 5:39-40; Luke 24:27, 44 – 47.) Paul also reinforced the redemptive focus of scripture in 2Tim 3:15. He told timothy that the scripture would make one wise for salvation and thereby established the solely redemptive focus. Verses 16 and 17 of the same passage must be viewed within the redemptive purpose. In other words, it is only profitable from a redemptive point of view. The unbelieving Pharisees are examples of it not being profitable.

While the bible is inspired, not all of the messages are of equal value. For example; Exodus 21:7-11 gives the instructions on how a man should sell his daughter as a concubine. Exodus 12:48 – 49 explains how a Gentile can become a part of the people of God. This is not a message that has relevance in the new covenant. It must also be remembered that the New Testament writings are transitional. The New Testament writings move from Old Covenant Judaism before the cross, to the birth of the Jewish Christianity at Pentecost, to the inclusion of the Gentiles in Acts chapter ten. All of the New Testament epistles are written to help facilitate this transition. All of the New Testament writings were written before the destruction of the temple and the judgment of the unbelieving Jews. Therefore… not even all… of the New Testament writings have equal value today. However, they all have value from a redemptive point of view because they represent and tell the story of redemption.

This is the reason that Jesus and his followers went to such lengths to redefine the phrase word of God to gospel and Jesus the living gospel. They wanted to be sure that Christ believers, (I like this term better than the term Christians) were able to use this focus as they used and read the scripture. This redemptive view of scripture would help people to be much more open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

We as Christ followers today can gain a lot by bringing this focus to our scripture study. It is the key to help us overcome the constitutional, legal reading of the scripture. It will enable us to take the scripture for what it is rather than turn it into an idol that we in reality place above God. Is it possible that the Holy Spirit communicated to individuals within their greater cultural context and understanding? Of course it is. It makes perfect sense. In times of the acceptability of concubines, the Holy Spirit ensured that they would at least be treated fairly and humanely.  Prior to the advent of the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to provide a way for Gentiles to be included in the people of God. Could it be that if we would open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He would give us ways to deal with the things that we experience in our culture today? Might it be different than the way it was done in past cultures?  When you think of it that way... it only makes common sense that it would.

Removing biblio-idolatry would give us the opportunity to ask the question; how would love react to this or that?

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