Sunday, September 22, 2013

God's Doings in Scripture

Words do things. They are tools. The original authors of the biblical books were trying to do things through the words, and Christians believe God was doing things through the words as well. I believe that God does things through those same words today that are not exactly the same as what he did originally.

What did the words originally do?

1. They affirmed the identity, values, and practices of Israel in relation to YHWH.
The narratives of the OT, from Genesis to Esther, gave Israel a sense of who it was and who its God was. It singled Israel out from the other peoples who surrounded them and their gods.  Its laws set a boundary, a "hedge" to set it apart from other peoples. Certainly there were also moral lessons, the chief of which was that Israel would prosper when it served YHWH and it would fail and go into subjection when it didn't.

2. The prophets strongly reinforced these values.
The prophets indicted Israel for its injustice to the weak. They decried the enemies of Israel for their injustice as well. They gave hope to Israel of restoration after enslavement.

3. The writings expressed the worship, the laments, the hopes, the anger of Israel, as well as the wonder of the world.

4. The gospels presented the good news of Jesus Christ, our king, each in their own way.  They presented who he is, what his values are (love), and validated his identity as Messiah.

5. Acts gave them an ideal community of faith in this time between Christ's resurrection and coming again. It gave the church a sense of who it is and what its values are.

6. The letters and sermons of the NT played out in various first century contexts Christian values in the new age of the Messiah.

7. Revelation expressed the hope and certainty that Christ would be victorious in the end over the forces of opposition that currently war against God's kingdom.

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