Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Words of Jesus vs. The New Testament

A situation mentioned in my previous post continues. Several extreme doctrines are being promoted by a few newcomers on a forum I frequent. They dismiss scriptural evidence against their ideas because they have a very selective approach to scripture. They see “the words of Jesus” as having more authority than the rest of scripture.

The thing that is being missed is that we don’t have “the words of Jesus”. We have the scriptures which contain reports of a small sample of what Jesus taught. The people giving those reports were either witnesses themselves or they compiled reports from others who were witnesses.

If we take the parts of Jesus’ teaching that are reported as part of scripture and remove them from the context of the rest of scripture we are highly prone to misinterpreting and misapplying those teachings.

If "Jesus words" were more important than the rest of scripture then God could very easily have given us books of His sayings and teachings alone, instead of giving us four gospels, an account of the early church, several letters and a book of prophecy.
But He chose to reveal Himself and His purposes through latter.

2 comments:

Tonjia said...

In reality, all the books of the Bible are completely separate from one another, as I am sure you know. They are merely bound together as history book might be, with reports from many different historians, whose reports may or may not agree.

The commandment that Moses gave was this: I have set before you this day a blessing and a cursing, the way of life, and the way of death, choose life that you may live.

If we are to follow the commandment of Moses, as did Jesus, we must choose the witness of life from Moses' words and refuse the words of death.

Jesus told us to refuse the words of Moses "an eye for an eye". He also taught us to refuse the law of sacrifice, in favor of the law of Mercy, which Christ himself taught.

Onesimus said...

Hi Tonjia, thanks for your comments.

The books of the bible were written as separate volumes by a lot of different writers over many centuries but together they present a completely cohesive history of God’s relationship with mankind, starting with the beginnings of the current creation and culminating with a glimpse of a new creation.

The books were inspired by the Holy Spirit but written by men, utilising a human perspective. It is clear from scripture that submission to God results in life, resisting God results in death.

Perhaps the most important way to approach scripture is to be aware of context and not to apply isolated parts of scripture in ways and for purposes that were never intended. The non-contextual approach tends to miss the point that scripture is a revelation of God Himself and not a collection of instructions, doctrines, promises, historical facts or even facts ABOUT God.

The group I mention in my post fails to see the important of context.

Even the words of Jesus that are recorded in scripture come as part of the greater context of scripture.

Many take the scriptures and see only “law”. Others take the scriptures and see only “grace”. However scripture reveals how both relate to God and His character.