The Bible: A question

Did Jesus come so that we may have the New Testament?  Did God enter into Israel’s history so that we may have the the Old Testament?  I’m thinking ‘No’ on both counts.

Those questions may not make total sense; they just popped into my head and I haven’t spent much time thinking about them, but I thought they were interesting enough to post.  I can’t quite explain them yet?it’s still very much an internal, ‘feeling’ thing?but these questions have to do with the place we give the Bible.  I suppose that they’re in a way related to this post.

UPDATE:  There appears to be some confusion as to why I posted these questions and what, exactly, I mean by them.  No surprise there: I was (and am) a little unsure myself?they just seemed like the right questions to ask.  They aren’t rhetorical or meant as a trap.

They’re just questions relating to how we value the Bible.  I’m not questioning the authority of scripture, but I am, perhaps, toying with the doctrine of sola scriptura.  I say “perhaps” and “toying”, because I really don’t know much about that doctrine, only what it means in a literal sense, which makes me more like a cat batting at a ball of string than an academic engaging scripture and tradition thoughtfully.

I wonder, too, about the Bible’s view of itself (can’t help but personify).  From what I understand, most of the Bible’s references to “the word” are, in fact, referring to Jesus, rather than the written text of the 66 books of the Bible.  (This is a concept I can’t quite wrap my head around, which also means that I can’t grasp the implications of that concept either.)  In this sense, the Bible doesn’t say much about itself, does it, other than what is implied by characters quoting other parts of scripture?

I don’t have a Hebrew dictionary on hand, but if this is true, there are implications, for example, for the motto of the Bible college I attended, which is “The word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).  Perhaps I misunderstood the intention behind that motto, but I always thought they were referring to the Bible.  It is, after all, Bible college, not “Jesus college”.  Now it appears that such an understanding of that verse (I’m at work, so I don’t have time right now to check the verse’s context in the chapter) could very well be erroneous.

Does that clear it up at all?  Probably not. 

The implication and/or meaning of Jesus as “the Word”, though not new to me, is huge; I think my brain might explode if I think about it too hard (or perhaps I just need a good night’s sleep).

UPDATE 2:  I suspect that I didn’t make things any more coherent with that first update.  I’m tempted to get into it further, but I think I’ll just leave it as is.  I normally organize my thoughts a little more, but today you got stream-of-consciousness writing.  Some of must think I’ve gone mad.

9 thoughts on “The Bible: A question

  1. Andrew

    Not sure if this relates or not, but a prof at Regent is fond of saying, ‘what’s so new about the New Testament?’ — the message of the NT is already contained in the OT, but becomes explicit in the New…

  2. Marc

    Wow. Were you guys waiting with baited breath for a new post? That was a quick response! Shouldn’t we all be working? (Wait, let me do the math. 11ish + 8 = 19ish = 7is pm England time…so, no, not you, Toni).

    “Help me”? How do you mean, Toni? I don’t quite follow…

  3. Darren

    Ok, I’ll bite.

    I think yes, on both counts, if by “New Testament” you mean a new covenant between man and God.

    No, if by “New Testament” you mean the written text, or word… that thing we read now and again.

    …or did I miss something?

  4. Marcus the Bushwhacker

    Actually, I was having a discussion with someone about “The Word”, and apparently Matthew quite clearly states that “The Word” is the word of God, and not JC, he’s just the conduit. It came about over interpretation of Christ “fulfilling” the law… I posited that it meant Christ fulfilled the OT, and now that’s done, let’s get on with the Christian gospel, but the other person pointed out that Matthew states otherwise. Not being a big biblical scholar, the little poking around I did pointed up lots of controversy over the book of Matthew, since he seems to be a Christian Jew who was a) not really popular and b) a bit of a hard-liner – he really liked the OT and didn’t want to give it up.

    Anyway, the bible is just a book. It’s the message, not the medium.

  5. Marc

    Marcus the B.: this was a confusing entry as it is, so I won’t get into it too much, but I didn’t mean to imply that the Bible never mentions itself. One can simply not assume what is meant and must look at the context.

    I’m thinking of John 1 in which it is said “the word became flesh”, meaning Jesus.

  6. Andrew

    The “Word” in the O.T. is ‘Torah’, or the Word spoken by God @ the creation of the Universe. Christians traditionally have interpreted the OT use of the OT “Word” as Jesus, since Jesus’ claimed to fulfil the Torah (he was the embodiment of Torah, the living Torah if you will) and Paul’s comments that God created everything through Jesus and for Jesus — so Jesus is the creative agent and mediating agent. That’s what I’d think Jesus meant when he says that no one comes to the Father but through him — through him we get a see who God is.

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