When I write, I hope to present ideas in a conversational tone as though we’re connecting over a good cup of coffee with a little Baileys, a generous amount of cream, and Karen’s berry rhubarb pie. I like to make suggestions through storytelling and what-if questions, but I’ve been told that on occasion, maybe, you know, every once in a while, I could just state my conclusions plainly.
When it comes to hermeneutics, the method by which we interpret Scripture, this is me making it plain.
Jesus, greater love, is my hermeneutic.
I approach the “word of God” in search of Jesus, the “Word Who Became Flesh.”
Jesus is the whole revelation of what God is like, and the cross is the clearest way to know Him and how He feels about us.
God has always been like Jesus, whether we knew it or not. That’s true today and was true for our Old and New Testament brothers and sisters.
The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 I share that same resolve in all things, including my approach to Scripture.
Now, here are some what-ifs.
What if any belief about the nature of God that contradicts cruciform love, even if it’s biblical, is untrue?
What if Scripture is an inspired collection of books that reveals how poorly humanity has thought about God in light of how good Jesus revealed God truly is?
What if the whole point of the Book is to empower deeper revelation of reconciling love, a greater discovery of the Truth that sets us free, and an awakening to our union in Christ?
What if we were meant to search Scripture so we might recognize the “Word Who Became Flesh” in every person standing before us?
What if we can know our hermeneutic is true based on if we love God, our neighbor, and ourselves more? I’m thankful to my friend Randal Worley for that thought. 2
For me, interpreting Scripture is not rocket science; it’s relational theology 101. But what did you expect from me? I’m a relational theologian with a Map reading learning disability. I am not educated enough to give you anything other than another what-if:
What if even our approach to Scripture is about a Love who laid His life down for His friends?
As a relational fella, all I can tell ya is, the more confident I become in reconciling love, the less hard stuff wrestling I do with the Book.
All I can tell ya is, if you’re intent on wrestling with hard stuff, make sure it’s about your systematic methods and current lack of understanding and not about your certainty that God requires child sacrifice.
All I can tell ya is, like Abraham, we can navigate our hard stuff understanding by placing our faith in a reconciling love that raises the dead to life.
In my experience, when cruciform love is the lens through which we know God, resurrection life is always the revelation, and there is no hard stuff in Scripture.
1 1 Corinthians 2:3
2 Mark 12:30-31
This article is excerpted from my book, Leaving and Finding Jesus
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