…from childhood you have known sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you: Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also, and if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, give your coat as well, and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
There are many who see and read the Bible as if it were a flat book, that is they selectively really, apply parts of scripture for what Christians or nations should do today. Or else scholars attempt to explain away what is clearly in the text. That there are problematical texts ethically in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament should go without saying. Certainly they lived in a different day with norms which are not standard for us. For example in a patriarchal hierarchal society. And in a world in which violence was accepted as necessary at times.
But Jesus comes along and really blows all of that out of the water. A Christian reading and understanding of scripture doesn’t accept all that is in it as normative for today. Some of this is obvious when we consider the Pentateuch and a book like Leviticus. But there are ethical, moral matters which are often transported from the Old Testament today, which are not Christian if Christian means to follow Christ. Just one example among many is Elijah calling down fire on people (2 Kings 1).
We certainly have to find the benefit for us from all of scripture, though again in a book like Leviticus, that benefit may come from broad sweeps of the book and not as much in its details. Regardless of what we are looking at in sacred scripture, and I’m referring to the Christian Bible which includes the Hebrew Bible which is commonly called the Old Testament, at least secondarily the Apocrypha and what is called the New Testament. But regardless of where we look in that text, we have to seek to sift it through Christ, his teaching, to see all of scripture as it were through the eyes of Christ.
That’s a tall order, for sure. And it doesn’t mean we discard anything that is not in harmony or meets the standard of Christ. It all somehow has value as we seek to consider the context. We can at the very least see how God’s people have changed in their understanding of God, of God’s will and God’s way. In a final, ongoing sense through the coming of Jesus and all that follows. In and through Jesus.