And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… (how we read the Bible incorrectly)

I received a lot of criticism from a post in which some people thought I took the Bible to task unfairly. Thinking about what they said I went back to the first chapter of John. Here is where we get the language “the Word” (capital ‘w’) in the first place.

John opens his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then in verse 14 John continues, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”

If we are buying what John is selling here, we believe that Jesus (full of grace and truth, bearing the glory as if he were God’s only son) is “the Word.”

Once we are comfortable with that belief we can go back through John 1 with the understanding that we are talking about Jesus…

Verses 1-5

Jesus has been with God since before time began. All things were made through Jesus, nothing can be created without him. Jesus possesses the very life of God, and is offering it to humanity.

Verses 6-13

John the Baptizer was sent by God to tell people how Jesus was coming to share and spread the life and light of God. While all the people have been created by Jesus and all of creation literally has Jesus living within it, the people did not recognize him. But he gave the power of adoption into God’s family to the people who accepted him anyway.

Verses 14-18

Jesus is “the Word.” While Moses wrote the law, Jesus came to explain it. No one knows God except Jesus, he is the only way that we have any idea what God is like.

(Paraphrased by me)

This is John’s introduction to his gospel. It is his thesis statement, his platform, his scale on which everything else he says will be weighed.

Everything about Jesus is representative of God, God’s heart, and God’s will.

Jesus is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. I believe that not only does this apply to John’s gospel, but to the entire Bible. I believe that we must read everything written in the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ life and teachings.

Jesus is the only person to ever live who knows God completely. If we do not take all of our cues from him, we are acting arrogantly, ignorantly, and selfishly. When we put ourselves over the first-born (Jesus) we are elevating ourselves above God. In my opinion, that’s just plain stupid behavior.

It’s messed up when Christians quote Paul or Moses or whoever out of context and it is in direct opposition to what Jesus taught or how he lived.

It’s messed up when we try to make Jesus fit into what all the authors of the Bible say instead of the other way around.

Jesus should NOT be measured by us, WE should be measured by HIM.

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9 Comments

Filed under Theology/Spirituality, Uncategorized

9 responses to “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us… (how we read the Bible incorrectly)

  1. Ryan Bell

    Dan,
    First, I want to apologize for not calling to follow up with my comments on your last post but I feel you are thouroughly confusing some rather important aspects of the Christian faith just because of an extreme reaction to an extreme (read not held by many at all) view.

    Again I feel it necessary to say, that Scripture is not just the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; it is also God’s interpretation of those events. The bible interprets the revelation of Jesus for us. It is the standard by which we judge truth and discern spirits. Jesus is still alive and working, but he never speaks or acts contrary to Scripture. Rather, he speaks through the living Word. Christ himself holds its as crucial that we see him through the lens of Scripture. On the road to Emmaus Christ thought it necessary to hide the glory of his glorified resurrection body from the men in order that he might show them what Scripture, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and with the hands and work of the human authors, says about who he is. Luke 24: 25-27 reads, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.?”

    It is by Scripture, written by guys like Moses and Paul inspired and lead by the Holy Spirit, which from the beginning has lead God’s people to faith in his Son. The Old Testament believers lost their way countless time despite the fact they had a giant pillar of flame or smoke before them. Thus he sent them his Commandments, he sent his Word, the Word that was from the beginning, into the midst of his people in the form of Scripture. Throughout the OT we see the people of Israel in disobedience to God and only upon returning to his word and his commandments do they seek after God, begin to actually desire a relationship with him, and put their faith in him once again.

    We are called to obey the Scriptures and to live by them. We are called to know the word and in so doing draw closer to God, closer to Christ. It is through the laying out of the covenants in the Scriptures that we see the fantastic and unbelievable work Christ did on the cross. Without the revelation God has given us we would not know the fullness of our depravity and need for Christ. It is by God’s revelation in Scripture that we learn who he is, who his son his and what he has done, how to pray, how to worship, what it means to obey God in Christ, and so so much more. To divorce the worship of and discipleship to Christ from Scripture in the way that a few of your last post have quite frankly divorces your version of Christianity from orthodoxy. Tread carefully friend and seek wise counsel from many elder brothers and sisters. Theology and Christianity are not individual practices. I am here to hear what you have to say and to admonish you in Christ by way of the Word as I would hope that you and all my other brother and sisters in Christ would do for me.

    -Ryan Bell

  2. This post once again seems to cast aside the Holy Spirit’s work in Paul’s life. Or any writer of scripture’s life. If the gospel writers weren’t inspired to the write what they wrote than why believe it? If they were inspired what makes Paul not inspired? It feels like you’ve got some ax to grind against using anything outside of the gospels.It feels like some context is missing. Also like your last statement, but if i quote from Romans am I all the sudden measuring Jesus by may standard?

    I’d like to engage in this dialogue, but I’m a bit unsure of where you’re getting some this.

    • Without giving any example of misquoting Jesus and Paul it appears that you think any quote might be wrong. But that’s negligible. Weighting scripture at all becomes similar to weighting sins. If they’re all inspired they all have equal weight and all point to Christ in some manner. If not why use any other than the gospels. And since Jesus is explicit in his praise of the Holy Spirit’s value it makes sense to really consider Paul and the other NT writers. Hope this clarifies my comment.

    • I’m trashing all my previous comments and starting over. This is going no where.

      You have concerns and I’m misunderstanding you.

      If you could just summarize what you heard me saying into a sentence or two and then explain your concerns I think I could better answer your questions.

  3. How can you justify this belief with the fact that Jesus quoted Scripture as absolute truth?
    Just from a quick google search I can tell you that Jesus specifically quoted from at least 24 OT books. Besides that, He made various references to Scripture as a source of absolute truth. In Matt. 5:17 Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Luke 24:44 speaks of OT Scripture as a living document that must be fulfilled. In John 10:24 Jesus even stated that the Psalms were “Law.”
    Depending on your dispensational view you may or may not believe that God still reveals specific things to specific people at a specific time apart from scripture. And surely, we cannot know everything about God from scripture. However, we must believe that everything God has revealed about Himself by His Spirit through the Scripture is true. Even a completely Jesus-centric reading of Scripture should yield the same conclusions. Jesus clearly thought the entirety of Scripture was equally useful.

    • Ryan Bell

      Dan,
      Why do you only attack rather than actually engaging in the thoughts being expressed? Like David T. said above we want to engage in this conversation. However, it seems you want us to comment just in order to berate us with your own views without engaging ours in the least.

    • What do you mean by belief in your first question?

      • I was actually specifically addressing your reply to an earlier comment that seems to be trashed. However, you said a few things in your actual post that say …basically… the same thing:

        “Jesus is the only person to ever live who knows God completely. If we do not take all of our cues from him, we are acting arrogantly, ignorantly, and selfishly. ”
        “It’s messed up when we try to make Jesus fit into what all the authors of the Bible say instead of the other way around.”

        I think I understand the sentiment you are expressing and it is a noble one, although perhaps slightly misguided. It is important to keep in mind that the Bible is the story of God’s redemption of mankind. First, in the garden, Adam walked with God. After he sinned, we were given the law and animal sacrifice as a means of redemption. Finally, we were given Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice. I believe what you’re getting at is that we ought to interpret the OT law (and writings of Moses) in light of Jesus’ sacrifice. As Christians, I believe that we should accept this as true. Obviously we don’t need to sacrifice doves anymore.
        However, it looks like you believe that Jesus and the rest of the biblical authors are diametrically opposed. This is where my previous comment comes in. I was trying to explain that Jesus doesn’t even view Himself as opposed to other Scriptures, but as the next step in God’s redemption. The final chapter of the story if you will.
        It looks like maybe you’ve had experience with people who quote OT passages out of context in order to tell you that you’re going to hell for eating bacon or something like that. This isn’t an issue of taking Jesus’ teachings ABOVE the rest of the Bible, but rather interpreting the bible correctly.

        I hope that I’ve been constructive and not deconstructive. I hope that by engaging in these conversations we can both learn something.

      • Points I agree with you on…

        1) The Bible is the story of the redemption of mankind (I would add through Jesus Christ)
        2) Yes, my argument is to interpret OT scripture through the lens of Jesus sacrifice (I would add his teachings as well).
        3) I also view this not as taking Jesus above the other writings, but correct interpretation (I think this is where confusion beset us all)

        Points I disagree with…

        1) I do not believe the law and animal sacrifices were ever a MEANS to redemption. Paul makes it clear in Romans that justification was attributed to Abraham by faith. The sacrifices were only an outward expression of the belief the people had that God would one day save them (Romans 3:21-31)

        2) I do not believe that Jesus and the rest of scripture is diametrically opposed. I believe in the scriptures, that they point to Jesus, and that Jesus chooses to work through them. However, like I said above I believe that we misinterpret them.

        If Jesus teaches that the law and all the prophets are summed up in “Love God and love your neighbor,” then we must investigate the scriptures until they align with that teaching… like focusing two separate lenses on one object.

        For example, no one would argue for legislation to be passed that a rapist and his virgin victim be married in today’s world. There is no love in that. However, in the time of Moses it was a necessary law for the woman to be protected. There is a cultural difference at work there… not an eternal truth.

        When we don’t understand how one of God’s laws or commands was loving towards our neighbors then we don’t understand the law. That was my argument in this piece.

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