A Half-Dozen Thoughts on Scripture

  1. If Jesus is the Son of God, it is significant, is it not, that He did not debunk the notion of Scripture generally or the Old Testament in particular?  And the significance of Scripture is that it is Truth, and the most reliable guide there is to our relationship with God, apart from perhaps personal revelation from Him, correct?
  2. It also seems to me significant that Jesus did not spend much time on the finer points of theology.  It seems reasonable to conclude that He didn’t think we need to either:  Wouldn’t He have dwelt on them more if He thought they were really important and might be misunderstood?
  3. Rather, Jesus’ focus, and the New Testament generally and even more the Old Testament, is about our relationship with God and how we treat one another.
  4. On these issues, what God — Scripture — has to say is of primary interest in finding the right path.  Logic and tradition and secular knowledge are not to be ignored, but they should not be the starting point or ending point.
  5. If Jesus didn’t spend much time on an issue, and the Old Testament doesn’t speak to it, then it’s a good bet that we have some freedom on it.  Conversely, if He did spend a lot of his (limited) earthly time on an issue, we should be wary of trying to explain away what He had to say.
  6. What if Jesus didn’t say a lot about something but Paul did?  And, even more radically, should we care more about what we read in red letters in the Bible than what Paul (or James or Peter or John or Jude) have to say?  Well, there should not be any actual inconsistencies, though where there is any tension it should be resolved in Jesus’ favor — as I’m sure the others would agree!  And I think it’s legitimate to put more weight on the fact that Jesus talked a lot about something than that Paul did.  For one thing, Paul’s writings are often reactive to problems he faced at that time with particular congregations; Jesus was to a much greater degree setting His own agenda.  Even when someone tried to put Him on the defensive, he had the good politician’s ability to turn it into an opportunity to say what He wanted to say.