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?


You're really against finding any middle ground, aren't you :)

Do you remember the account of the Passover that wasn't kept properly but was accepted anyway? Why do you think God didn't strike them all dead? I would guess it was because God is more interested in what the Passover meant than He is in the technicalities.

You're right in pointing out that the spotless lambs were a type of Christ--a type. Christ didn't have to be covered in wool to meet the atonement requirements, either. You're literalizing symbolism. God didn't require blood--he required what the blood symbolized: death. Similarly, God didn't require a superhuman perfectionist Messiah, He needed someone innocent of Israel's transgression.

Consider the Church, which Christ will present to God "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Do you suppose that the Church has always been and always will be without spot, wrinkle, or blemish? Do you suppose that every action ever done in the name of the Church falls into that category?

I suppose that analogy might drive some mad. They might argue, "Who MAKES the Church spotless? And he MAKES IT THAT WAY because HE'S SPOTLESS HIMSELF!!!" Right?


What made Jesus perfect? The Resurrection.

Hebrews 5.7-9 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

It wasn't Jesus' earthly life that enables Jesus to perfect the Church; it is his Resurrected Life. Jesus trusted God unto death, though he hated to go--and that death made Jesus perfect. (Gonna pull out the ol' lexicon and squabble over the word "perfect"?) But if Hebrews goes so far as to imply Jesus was less-than-perfect (whatever you want to argue perfect means) I guess I'm willing to go there, too. As difficult and unpopular as it might be (hey, even I'M not really comfortable with it, yet).

Seriously, we're gonna have to start a new thread for this...

"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