Biblical Truth – The Centrality of Jesus Christ
The Bible is the story of God’s redeeming work in human history. The main focus is God’s plan of salvation found in Jesus Christ, designed to redeem us and all of creation. The Bible is the Word of God which is used by the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, lead us to salvation, and teach us how to follow Jesus in daily life.
We can explore biblical truth by understanding:
The whole Bible is the Word of God.
It is helpful, however, to allow the words of Jesus to guide our understanding of the rest of the story; the life and teachings of Jesus can shape our interpretation of passages that are difficult or not easily understood. For instance, after the resurrection, two disciples were walking on the Road to Emmaus. Jesus joined them and gave them a lesson on how to interpret His own death and resurrection. He told them that the entire Old Testament had pointed to Him. Christ revealed that His teachings will help us interpret both the Old Testament and New Testament more accurately.
He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself”. – Luke 24:25-27
Biblical Interpretation Centered on Jesus
Here are some steps to follow as we attempt to interpret the Scriptures correctly through Christ:
- Allow the full salvation story in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus to carry more weight in the development of doctrine and theology.
- In the interpretation of any Biblical passage, check to see if Jesus made reference to that passage or Biblical issue elsewhere, and allow Jesus’ teachings to improve your understanding.
- Allow the clear teachings of scripture, especially the teachings of Jesus, to help you interpret the passages which are more difficult to understand.
- Be careful to avoid making strong theological statements based on one Biblical text which is obscure or difficult to understand.
- Reading and studying the Bible in Christian community will help us to interpret Scripture. He promised to be with us—“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).
- Be obedient to the Scriptures that are clear and the truths you already know. There is no need for more if you are not willing to obey what you already understand.
One of the ways we can grow in our ability to interpret the Bible is to see how Jesus interpreted passages from the Old Testament. If you look at the teachings of Jesus in the four Gospels, you will find that many of His words are quotes from various Old Testament books. Many of these were taken from the books of the Torah, the Psalms, and Isaiah. Here are some good examples:
- When Jesus was tested in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), He quoted passages from Deuteronomy 8:3, Psalm 91:11-12, Deuteronomy 6:16, and Deuteronomy 6:13.
- In Jesus’ first sermon (Luke 4:14-30), He quoted a section from Isaiah 61:1-2.
- In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus quoted passages from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy
Preaching Jesus from the Word of God
It is clear from the Book of Acts, that the apostles had a very high regard for God’s Word. It was their conviction that if they preached the “Word of God” their message would be used by the Holy Spirit and it would have the power to convict and transform. This belief suggests that as the Word of God is preached, it extends the power and presence of the Kingdom of God. In this way, the Gospel gains power in new regions of the world. Note the following passages:
- (Acts 8:25) They “proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus.”
- (Acts 13:33) On the Sabbath, “the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”
- (Acts 13:48-49) “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord” and “the word of the Lord spread through the whole region.”
- (Acts 15:35) In Antioch, they “taught and preached the word of the Lord.”
- (Acts 15:36) Later, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”
- (Acts 16:32) “They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”
- (Acts 19:20) “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”
When we preach, it is possible for us to draw attention to ourselves rather than to the word of God? The goal of preaching is to testify about Jesus and for God to be glorified.
Does your preaching focus on Jesus, and does it allow the power of the Word of God to be released?
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What Does the Bible Say about Your Purpose?
The Bible is full of references to God's plan and purpose for our lives. In fact, the very first verse of the Bible says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1. This shows us that everything God does has a purpose.
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