You search the Scriptures because you that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me.

Above is John 5:39. Jesus is addressing the pharisees about they way the read the Bible. Many of us feel that simply reading the Bible is good enough. Who would think to criticize the piety of another? The Pharisees knew the Bible. Most would have had the Pentateuch memorized. And yet Jesus rebuked them for reading their Scriptures. It was not that they were reading too much or should have been focusing more on things outside of the written word. We are surely in no danger of reading the Word of God too much and Jesus is not dichotomizing between the written Word and “the Word.” What is the deal then? They were reading the Bible wrongly; namely, they were not reading the Old Testament how the Spirit inspired it. They were looking to the Word for principles and stuff to do. But the Bible, OT and NT, is about Jesus; his person and work.

Many decry a christocentric reading of the OT. That is dangerous reservation because the Pharisees didn’t read it that way either. But the crazy thing is that many do not preach Christ from the NT either. Instead, we look for ourselves in the gospels and epistles, trying to find out where we are. Our bent is to look to ourselves (in varying degrees) for eternal life. We must read the Bible because we behold the glory of God in the gospel of Christ. We read to know God, to glorify Him by enjoying Him forever. The Bible is much less of a manual for living and is much more of an autobiography of God.

God has supremely manifested Himself in the Godman, our Lord Christ Jesus. This Christ in the center of the Christian Faith. Not just his person though, but his work. The gospel, Jesus saving a people from sin and God’s wrath by his death and resurrection, is the key interpretive principle of the Bible. We read to see Christ in the gospel, our righteousness. We read to see our sin and exalt the grace of God. We read to have our affections

This reading of Scripture is not wild allegory or whatever caricature you like. This principle is not simply an over-reading of Luke 24. I would argue that we have read Luke 24 just fine but the buck does not stop here. All over the NT you see the apostles pointing to Christ from the OT. You could make the case from Acts that the OT is sufficient to convert a person. A solid doctrine of inspiration shows that God the Holy Spirit is the main author of Scripture. The Spirit’s main work is to glorify Christ, to raise him up before our eyes to be feasted on by faith.

Are the OT scriptures christo-centric or christo-telic. Yes. Any way of reading the Bible other than this is wrong. At least Jesus thought so. To read the Bible with the gospel at the center is freeing. Instead of looking inward, we see God as he truly is. That leads to worship, happiness in holiness. In Christ alone, our hope is found. Life is knowing Christ in all the Bible. For your joy, look to Christ!

Advertisements