Elevated Eyes

Look above. Fix your eyes on Jesus. See life from a different perspective

Category: Bible

It’s not a manual for life.

I do not like the metaphor that the bible is an ‘owners manual for life’

I have never enjoyed reading an owners manual, whether its for a car or a toaster, owner’s manuals just aren’t that fun. To limit the word of God to a manual that helps us succeed at life does a terrible disservice to the bible. We can’t just pull the bible out when things are going wrong. It is not meant to be a book of quick life fixes.

I believe the bible is a story, it is a story that is still unfolding, it is a story that we have a part to play in.
We have to embrace the Bible as uncensored, wild account of people experiencing the king of kings. It is not something pulled out when we need a problem fixed. It is a messy, exhilarating story of life change.

It has people doubting, arguing with, worrying about, reconciling with, loving, worshipping, thanking and following the one true God.

We cannot put it in a box, we can’t tame it.

The bible is about real people in real places at real point in time writing about their growing understanding of who they are and who God is.

Truth meets us wherever we are yet there is something powerful about seeing the historical contextual significance of the story.

For example, Paul writes to Timothy about women being saved in childbirth and he is making a direct reference to the goddess Artemis, whose temple was just down the street to Timothy who was based in Ephesus.

Artemis’s followers believed that the goddess saved women in childbirth. Paul’s writing has a big social and political impact. He is basically saying that the goddess Artemis is a fraud.

 

The writers of the bible are speaking in a language that the readers of the day will understand. The bible has authority and God is speaking into real space and time. The bible is a story that shows us what it looks like when God interacts with ordinary people. The point in the book of Acts isn’t the early church. The point is that God is using people to change the world. He is using ordinary people to represent His love, power and authority to the world.

We have a choice today to believe that the same God that was at work in the bible is at work in the world today.

He is the same God doing the same kind of things.

Ask God what He is up to in your world today?

Partner with the King of kings and allow the story of God to unfold.

God gave us a Story.

I wanted to spend some time unpacking two types of study that hopefully can help you in your understanding of the bible.

There are two main types of theological study.

Systematic and Biblical theology

Systematic theology groups theological study into specific topics. So if you were studying theology in a systematic way you would likely study, atonement theory, the doctrine of salvation, doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Eschatology and the doctrine of the church. You will begin by searching the bible for everything it says on a topic and then sharing views and opinions on it. It runs through the beautiful story of the bible drawing threads together to form a viewpoint and an opinion.

I’m not convinced that studying a systematic theology is a good way to learn about the Bible. It has it’s uses but it also limited. It is a bit like a big net, you will pick up a lot from a systematic study but the net has holes and a lot is missed.

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God speaks to us in a story, His revelation to us is anything but systematic.

The story is messy, it’s complicated, it tells the story of people who mess up, of God who gets involved in the life of his creation. The Bible narrative is compelling; sometimes exciting, sometimes hard and complicated but it is not systematic. God did not give us a system, he gave us a story. Trying to force something that has so much life into a system can squeeze the life out of it.  It’s His Story

Biblical theology looks at the story of the bible as a whole, it examines the truth of the bible in it’s historical and contextual position. Biblical theology recognises that the there is a progressive revelation of the nature of God throughout the story. Strong biblical theology puts us in the context of the writer and the reader and asks the question “What would this have meant to the writer?” “What would this have meant to the reader?”

Biblical theology helps us see the Bible as a unified narrative, rather than as a collection of unrelated points.

When studying the bible I believe we need to

1 . Have a solid historical and contextual interpretation.

2. Understand that God is revealed progressively throughout the bible.

As you read and study the word of God, ask God to reveal himself in it. Recognise the process of the nature of God being revealed to the writer as it is written. Ask yourself what would this passage have meant to the writer and the reader at the time and how does this help me understand the big picture of the story of God.

 

 

 

 

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