“Your righteousness is everlasting and Your law is true.” -Psalm 119:142
When Jesus was brought on trial before going to the cross, Pilate questioned Him. The governor couldn’t understand the religious leaders’ hatred toward Jesus, and tried to get to the bottom of it. Jesus confirms He is a King, but not of this world. He came for this reason- to testify to the truth. Jesus is Truth, who came to man, yet many did not accept Jesus’ message when Truth stared them in the face. Post modernists like Pilate still ask, “What is truth?”
I remember reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in college. Several students were assigned a literary critical theory for interpreting the text. Based on which approach we had, determined how the student viewed the passage. I was given Deconstruction. Deconstruction is a dismantling of a text to prove there are many meanings, with the belief that meaning like language, evolves and cannot be a fixed structure. With multiple ways to read a singular passage, they can even be in contradiction of one another, rather than a cohesive narrative. It is the complete opposite of what I believe the Scriptures to be. This approach (like other literary criticisms) props up relativism over absolutes. All of it is complete nonsense, but a tool nonetheless used to drive us away from Truth. Affirming God’s Word as absolute truth is fundamental, but how Scripture is interpreted is also essential.
What I have found helpful when reading the Bible is first considering the author’s intent. Specifically, I believe the Holy Spirit inspired each man to write what is now the canonized Scriptures. Therefore, I know the complete Word of God to be trustworthy and true. Good questions to ask when reading the book of Isaiah for example would be, “Who is the author? Who is he writing to? Why did he write this book? What was happening in the writer’s world, personally and/or publicly? How was this message received by the original audience? Why is this important to read today? There are also phrases and places in the Bible which I am not familiar with because they are not common today, but were an integral part of their culture. Keeping a good commentary is helpful for understanding those idioms and ancient cities, which for modern day ears are lost in translation.
Another great question to consider when studying the Bible is “who is God in this passage?” Even in books like Esther where His Name is not mentioned, the reader sees God at work saving His people. When we read any portion of Scripture, examining the character of God and His promises allows us to see His heart. The whole reason our Lord has given us the written Word is to reveal Himself. Ultimately God redeemed His children through the Living Word, Jesus Christ, for His Glory and our eternal good.
God’s Word is a beautiful and merciful gift He has given us. In it, He has told us His Son Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Gospel. When we speak of what is true, it must begin with Christ. Not only is our Lord the Truth, but He is Eternal Truth. Creation will wear out under the curse, but God’s Word stands forever. This is our comfort and hope. In a world hell bent on rejecting the God of Truth, Christians have a duty to rightly interpret Scripture, then contend for the faith in what we know to be true. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Be dogmatically true, obstinately holy, immovably honest, desperately kind, fixedly upright.” If God Himself proclaims His whole counsel to be truth, then this leaves no wiggle room for leaving hard passages out. It is either all true, or none of it is. Jesus is the Rock on which believers stand. He is the Living Word, eternally righteous and true.
Grace upon grace,
Growing deeper: John 1:1-14; 18:28-38; John 14:6; Isaiah 40:6-8; Jude 1-25