Reading the Bible: Three Very, Very Important Lens To Look Through

bible lensWhen reading the Bible, I believe there are three very, very important lens that we must look through

  1. Jesus
  2. The Trajectory of the Scriptures
  3. The Context of the Scriptures
Reading the Bible through Jesus

• In Colossians 1:15 St. Paul tells us that Jesus is the “image of God, the invisible one.”

  • John 1:14 tells us that the Word of God (Jesus) became flesh and dwelled among us
  • Jesus Himself told us that to see Him was to see God

• As such, I firmly believe that we are to read the Scriptures through the lens of Jesus

  • Jesus is God relived to us
  • So when we have problems understanding what the Scriptures are saying
  • Which, face it, there are some confusing parts in this book – that doesn’t mean that we throw them out (far from it)
  • It just means that we read those passages through Jesus

If our interruption of Scriptures does not match that of the life and character of Jesus, we MUST rethink that passage!

  • We ALWAYS default back to Jesus
  • For He is God relived to us!!
The Trajectory of the Scriptures

• The second lens is the trajectory of the Scriptures

  • What has God been doing throughout history?
  • What has been His focus?
  • What is the overarching theme of the Scriptures?

• These are questions that we must ask ourselves as the books of the Bible are not standalone documents

• They are documents placed within a greater canon of documents

• The Scriptures did not fall from the sky bound and complete

  • They are a collection of God-breathed letters, histories, poems, songs, etc

• Within the pages of Scriptures are people as human as we are

  • It records there mistakes
  • Successes
  • Failures
  • Loves and hates

• It tells us that we all are on a journey with God and even when we mess up, God is still with us

• As such, when we find a passage that is confusing, we must ask ourselves

  • What is the overall movement of the Scriptures in this area?
The Context of the Scriptures

• The last lens in which we are read the Scriptures is the context of the Scriptures

• The books of the Bible did not happen in isolation

  • There were real people writing down what really happened
  • There are cultural views and political battles within its pages

We need to ask

  • Who wrote this book/letter?
  • Who did they write too?
  • What was happening at the time that they wrote it?

• I understand that these can be hard questions

  • I know that some folks question every part of this..
  • But I also know that this information is readily available to each of you

• There are study Bibles which include introductions to each book that summarizes these questions

  • I also know that there are resources that can be found online
  • At your local bookstore, etc.

• If we are serious about the Scriptures, we should be looking and reading this stuff

Example of This

• A good example of this is the Old Testament law

  • If we are honest, we all have read through Deuteronomy and Leviticus and scratched our heads
  • It is confusing and does not make sense to us

• Some folks simply thrown out these books, saying that they do not fit with New Testament

• Others read St. Paul’s letters and then, using St. Paul as their interruptive lens, say that there were two ages

  • One of law in which the Israelites received salvation through the obedience to the Mosaic Law
  • One of grace through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus

• However if we look at the Old Testament Law through the three lens we just talked about we see something differently

• Lens One

  • Jesus was about God’s grace and love
  • We see God’s grace in the life and death of Jesus
  • He was against a rule based religion
  • He wanted a relationship with His people

• Lens Two

  • Looking back we seen God’s grace in how Adam, Eve, Noah and Abraham
  • We see grace in how God dealt with the Israelites
  • We see a trajectory of grace throughout the Bible

• Lens Three

  • In looking at the context of the Old Testament, we can see how radically some of the ‘laws’ were
  • Once we understand that the Israelites were slaves for a few hundred years and needed some guidelines to figure out how to run a new country…
  • Well things fall into place a lot better

• Instead of a “law vs. grace” thing

  • We find out that it is always been about grace!!
  • From Genesis to Revelation, its all grace.

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