Hopefully I piqued your interest with yesterday’s teaser at the end of my post. I do believe that there is a “Key” to correctly interpreting everything in Scripture, and the Key is pointed out within the text. For me, the discovery was more of a “Duh” moment than an “Aha!” The Key was actually something that I was aware of, and would have told you I was using. The fact was, I knew the Key’s importance intellectually, but it didn’t really work its way into my theology for quite some time. The Key? Jesus.
Yep, you probably just said “Duh” to yourself, right? I mean, every Christian knows that Jesus is the Key to everything. He brings meaning to life. His death pays our price; His resurrection brings us hope. He is to be our Lord and our King. I knew all of that. What then was I missing? Somehow I missed the fact that all of Scripture must be interpreted in light of Him. All of the Bible really does turn on the person of Christ. I was unintentionally forgetting that, or at least not applying it thoroughly enough. If there is a verse that seems to contradict the teachings and words of Christ, they must be interpreted in light of Him to be correctly applied in forming theology. Christ Himself told us this, but it isn’t just His teachings, the New Testament hints at this all over the epistles. Here are a few verses that helped bring this home for me:
1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God – which is your reasonable service. 2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. 4 For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, 5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. (Romans 12.1-5)
11 It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God – a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. 14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. 15 But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love. (Ephesians 4.11-16)
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you is a member of it. (1 Corinthians 12.27)
16 So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.16-20)
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, 16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. 18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1.15-20)
6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves. (John 14.6-11)