Paul is Rereading Israel’s Bible

PJPerhaps you’ve been exposed to this sort of information before.  Perhaps it was even dismissed as nonsense, or even worse–outright dangerous, bordering on the heretical.  But if I were to tell you that to properly understand the Gospels and the writings of Paul–that you had to subscribe to the following:

If you are expecting Paul to read the Bible like it was set in stone you will find yourself getting pretty nervous.  For Paul, now that Jesus has come, the Bible was more like clay to be molded.”  –Peter Enns, The Bible Tells Me So, emphasis added

What comes to mind?  What’s that initial reaction?  I was like you once.  I was right where you’re right now.  Yes, I too became nervous, uneasy, and outright defensive–how could this be?

But it had to be this way.  It is the only way the Bible truly makes sense.  No more superficial answers.  No more need to control the text, the script, through Western,  21st century eyes.  Rather, it’s seeing and letting Paul and the other NT writers reread their Bible, Israel’s Scripture–the Old Testament–in light of the coming of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah.

So instead of dismissing the likes of N.T. Wright as dangerous or even heretical, perhaps it’s time to take them seriously, in order to better understand your Bible.

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3 Responses to Paul is Rereading Israel’s Bible

  1. Craig Benno says:

    Our “Bible” or the “OT?” I get very nervous when some want to re-imagine the NT.

  2. Mike Gantt says:

    T.C.,

    I’m going to have to unsubscribe from your blog. You’ve gone astray from your Lord.

    Peter Enns is doing what unrepentant religious Christians always do: seeing the Bible as something to be molded like clay instead of seeing himself as clay to be molded by the Bible.

    I don’t deny that N. T.Wright has some good things to say. I don’t even deny that Peter Enns has some good things to say. But Jesus is a living Lord with the ability, through His Holy Spirit, to say many more good things that Wright and Enns put together have said. (I hasten to add that I don’t see Wright as having gone off the rails as Enns has; I only mention both because you do.)

    Paul was not molding the Bible like clay; rather, he was viewing the Bible with the fresh set of eyes that the Lord had given him. All the apostles were viewing the Old Testament according to the radical re-interpretation Jesus had brought to it through His resurrection from the dead. Specifically, Jesus is teaching Israel and the world to interpret the Old Testament according to the spirit and no longer according to the flesh. This does not make the OT’s meaning willy nilly – though it might seem that way to those who are babes in Christ.

    (Again, Wright can be helpful in picking up this re-interpretation by Christ, but he does not undermine confidence in the Scripture as Enns does.)

    What troubled me most about this post, and about the direction you have taken, is the same spirit of hubris I see in Peter Enns: that is, you think you understand the mind of anyone who disagrees with you because you are merely projecting your own former attitudes onto them. Peter treats his critics with condescension because he believes they are clinging to the same brittle fundamentalism that he sees in his former self. I can assure you that not everyone who disagrees with you is “right where you were.”

    I appeal to you: return to your first love: Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Beyond that, I’m unsubscribing and won’t trouble you any more with my comments. I say this without an ounce of animus. On the contrary, my affection for you abides. Though we’ve never met, I do feel that I’ve known you through things you’ve written in the past. It’s that TC that I hope will rise again soon. Not that you can’t think new thoughts – but that the change will be a matter of growing up in Christ and not a mattter of drifting away from Him.

  3. TC Robinson says:

    Criag,
    “Their Bible” is referring to the OT, the Bible of Jesus, Paul and the other NT writers.

    Mike,
    I appreciate and thank you for your contribution to this blog over the years. Jesus remains my Lord and Savior, my center and the center of Scripture for me. Many blessings on you too as you continue your Christian pilgrimage.

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