Two books recently have challenged us, particularly us evangelical Christians, to understand what scripture is about, what really is the point of scripture. And to learn to read all of it according to that, including what is now the hotly (in some quarters) debated book of Genesis. I consider them (from my limited perspective, but gathering from those with a much broader, deeper view, and having read both books myself): Christian Smith’s, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture, and Scot McKnight’s, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, co-books of the year, 2011, not necessarily in that order. They actually complement each other well, I think. Christian Smith is particularly apt at laying out the problem of biblicism, which over simply stated means or could be described as a role given to scripture which actually undermines its true role. We as Christians, followers of Jesus must have nothing short of a gospel (evangelical means something like holding to the gospel/good news) reading of scripture.
What holds scripture together? What gives it its true meaning? Jesus said that they point to him. That their true meaning is found in him. In his fulfillment of them. Jesus fulfilled and is fulfilling the story of Israel for the world, and in Jesus we are part of that fulfillment. So scripture is meant in the end to be read, prayed through and lived out of, with reference to its fulfillment in Jesus. That dynamic, which continues on to this day.
Thus, when we read its beginning, Genesis, as well as its ending, the Revelation, we do so holding to the dynamic which we begin to see in 1 Corinthians 15, as well as in “the gospels”, and the sermons in the Acts. It is a gospel oriented book, which is meant to point us to King Jesus, whose coming brings with it the realization of the true hope for this world. In the end bringing justice in shalom, in the remaking of the old into the new creation in and through Jesus.
That is what scripture is all about. That is its point. Not a text book of any sort, or meant to give us detailed information on this and that. But a dynamic, Spirit-breathed, Spirit-filled witness to the truth in Jesus, everything related in some way to that. In the story of God.
Scripture is then held in higher esteem than before. It is the word of God to point us to the Word himself, Jesus. We then find the true meaning not only of scripture, but of life itself. Meant not only for us, but for the world. In and through Jesus.
My thoughts are gathered from these two books shared above, which I am convinced are true to scripture and God’s revelation in Jesus.