This post is highly related to yesterday’s post.
Jesus to the Pharisees in Mark 7.11-13:
But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”‘ (that is, given to God) then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Interpret the Scriptures wrongly and it paralyses your understanding of Scripture. This will in turn paralyse you as a Christian.
Our traditions can actually make void the word of God.
The Pharisees had snowed in on the outward expression of religiosity, on the laws and regulations without regarding the context in which these were originally set up. They had got their priorities wrong.
When reading the Bible we must have our priorities right.
Just as the Pharisees of Jesus’ day had been handed down traditions from their ancestors, so we 21st century Christians have been handed down traditions of all sorts in the Church.
We have to read the word of God in the light of, and in accordance with the rest of the word of God. The way we interpret the Bible may be one of the most important and therefore most critical traditions. If we get this wrong then whatever we read will may be void.
In our churches today we must ask ourselves: Do we interpret the Bible the way the Bible interprets itself?
The answer is, alas, in many cases ‘no’.
Jesus is the stone that we either build our foundation on (cornerstone), or the stone that makes us trip up (stumbling block).
We just cannot make sense of the OT without seeing that it ties to the Gospel of Jesus. In fact, we can’t make sense of the NT either – what is Paul talking about? Why do they all talk about the OT?
Someone once made the analogy that the reason life seems so empty for non-Christians is because their lives are like the movie King Kong with King Kong himself digitally removed – not much of a movie! Things just don’t make sense.
I’m convinced the same is true for Christians when reading the Bible – if Jesus does not take centre stage in all Scripture, then it is all very empty, even dull (read Leviticus…).
If the Gospel of Jesus does permeate our understanding of Scripture however, then all makes sense, all comes together.
Sooner or later.