Compliments of ASBO Jesus I've been reading recently, due to a certain pet hate of mine, about the use of the Old Testament in the New. This pet hate of mine is the use of the Bible out of context. In fact I think the term pet hate is too weak for my feelings towards it. For a long time I have held the following belief: Unless we take the Bible seriously as the book it portrays itself to be then we may as well not bother using it. This meaning that it is a collection of 66 books, written over millenia by over 40 different authors each with an intended use and meaning in mind. Now none of this takes away from the idea that scripture is inerrent, nor from it being inspired/breathed by God but rather, i'd like to argue, the use that most Christians adhere to, especially in the younger generation, does exactly that. I'm sure we have all come across it, whether you agree with its use or not, where people quote a verse out its its context with a different meaning to back up their point. For example, ""Whatever you do for the least of these brother of mine you do for me", therefore give money to charity" Always a favorite but in reality what we actually see in the passage is care for fellow Christians. Thats not to take away from thier theology but rather thier method. New Testament writers too are often accused of getting the right doctrine from the wrong books which most people don't see an issue with but I'd like to argue that its a big issue. In our society which still has strong post-modern values (although I know we're not officially in that age anymore) any belief is ok, any reading is acceptable. The only time we ever question it is when it conflicts with what a certain organisation holds to be true (church, school, government). What we are doing is Gagging up Jesus and speaking for him. It is like we're saying "Your word is nice but I like to use it in another way thanks and take the bits that I like and agree with me". Whether thats using the Bible like a rule book, or quoting randomly and out of context, ot my favorite "doesn't it say in the Bible somewhere that...." Lets ungag Jesus, lets study the Bible, the word of God (Side point: Jesus is actualy the word, the bible is merely a record, a pointer to the true Word), and understand what he has to tell us today. I, like Don Carson and G. K. Beale, don't believe that Jesus or the apostles Quoted as they liked but rather with context and meaning in mind. I've not read thier book yet (Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G.K. Beale & D.A. Carson ) but I'll let you know when I do but untill then here is an interview which will get you started (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/februaryweb-only/106-52.0.html?start=1)
Lets take the Bible seriously as the Book which God reveals himself in and use it properly as Jesus and the apostles did.
Till next time