I am rereading Scot McKnight’s book on the meaning of the kingdom of God in scripture, and as has been the case, find myself resonating not only with the book, but with his words something to the effect that he is a Bible guy. In other words, he wants to go back to scripture to figure out what’s up or down. What’s what.
In the case of Scot I not only have no problem with that, but I’m fully on board. His book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, helps us see clearly how to read the Bible for all its worth from the part of its story we find ourselves in. The entire Book and story found in it are part of our story. But not necessarily the part we live in (N. T. Wright, also). For example we no longer sacrifice animals as offerings to God for our sins, or for the other things they signified, since Christ has now taken care of that with the once for all sacrifice of himself (Hebrews).
Some seem to read the Bible as if it all applies today as at any other time. But this is where it gets tricky. The Bible is the inscripturated word of God, but it’s also a human document. We have to read it with both in mind: it’s God’s word, but it’s written to humans in a kind of communication which is simple enough to get at a basic level so as to enter into its meaning for life by faith, but dignifies humans in mirroring the complexity of life. Making us in a certain way dependent on each other, as well as the gift God has given each of us, and ultimately dependent on God himself (God’s self) to get it.
And the process inevitably gets to be messy in that along with minor disagreements, we will have some more major ones. Although as those who are centered in the gospel of Christ, where we agree will far outweight the significance of whatever differences we have. That said, it would be good if we would submit our differences to whatever the church decides. So that our personal bent of interpreting this or that is submitted to the church which may interpret it differently. The church, which is called the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3) in that it is the repository or entity to which the gospel has been entrusted. And in the human sense, the source from God of that good news, even of the written word about and surrounding it.
On divisive issues today such as same sex marriage we end up turning to scripture. And on everything else. And we keep reading and reading more and more of scripture. In its context and out from that into our context and world. As together we seek to live more and more in the truth as it is in Jesus.