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?

Interesting parallel, there, Michael...

You're very quick to point out the corruption that you see infecting the Pharisees, and then quick to point out the mistake of the Protestants in leaving what they saw as a corrupt system far removed from its initial purpose. Maybe those Protestants saw in the Catholic church what you quickly see in the Pharisees?

When you say Jesus was sinless, I agree; he died for sins not his own. And that's all the perfect sacrifice needed to be--innocent. That would meet the conditions God required for His sacrifice:

Israel was in exile because of his idolatry. The sacrificial Jewish system demanded appropriate recompense before Israel could be forgiven. Jesus was guiltless of Israel's idolatry, but on the cross God's wrath towards Israel was poured out on Jesus; just as Isaiah prophesied, God found a substitute (also a feature of the Jewish sacrificial system). Coincidentally, adopting this sacrifice as our own sacrifice identifies that sacrifice as our sacrifice, and we become Israel, God's Son, through that act. See, you and I really do agree--Jesus fulfilled the law like no one else.

Making it possible for us to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus.

Though I'm not sure this argument belongs on this thread--if it needs to be moved, I'd be happy to pick it up somewhere else. Maybe this needs to go under "Why Did Jesus Have To Die"?

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." John 5.39-40