The Nature of Scripture and Revelation

How should scripture be interpreted? Is it all infallible and absolutely true? Is it all literal, or is it all metaphorical? Or is it somewhere in between?

My personal feeling is that scripture is a little bit of all that, but I'm trying to iron it all out, so any input you have is very very welcome.

There's a radio station in the Bay Area (where I live) that has an adverstisement for their home Bible study course, and they say bluntly that scripture should interpret scripture.

I can hang with that. But then they go on to say that, accordingly, we don't need to consider the initial intentions, meanings, cultures, or circumstances surrounding the Bible. Something there sounds a little fishy to me. I don't see the Bible making that claim for itself--though in II Timothy, Paul says that all scripture is indeed profitable for many things. Why, if the Bible is infallible, would we need to make the ADDITIONAL claim ON BEHALF of the Bible that it is indeed infallible--would an infallible book not make that claim for itself?

So how should we, as followers of Jesus, approach scripture? Sometimes, I think I see Jesus revering the scriptures he had, the Law of Moses--like during his wilderness temptations. Other times, though, it seems like he dismisses the Mosaic Law--particularly those scriptures regarding the Sabbath, the purity scriptures, and the scripture on divorce. Lots of people I know like to say that because Jesus was God he could do whatever he wanted in regard to the Word--but if God never changes, why did He change his eternal Word?

And, if we must then conclude that the law is just a temporary expression of an eternal Word, and then apply it to the New Testament canon, we have something of a loose standard for interpreting scripture. So, uh, that's where I'm at--how SHOULD we approach interpreting the Bible?

michael_legna's picture

Jesus taught us how to fulfill all the law through love

JStaller said -
Didn't Jesus sort of dismiss what the law taught about food? And it seems that his opponents recognized this dismissal, because they are so offended that Jesus immediately leaves for the distant coasts of Tyre and Sidon, where he holes up in a house and "would have no man no it."
And it also appears as though Jesus forbade certain things which the Mosaic law allowed--remarriage, for instance:
So figuring out which parts of God's word are "for the hardness of our hearts" and which are not... well, it seems to be a little subjective, a little culturally-relative. Kind of hard to apply any hard and fast rule.

Your quotes do show that Jesus taught the law differently than the Pharisees did. He taught that it was the intent or meaning behind the law which was more important than the letter of the law. Sometimes than meant He was more lenient and sometime it meant He was more strict. But though He taught this understanding of the law, Jesus Himself did obey all the law to the letter. He was the only one who could ever do it.