Is Scripture Important?

Our window into understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics was no mere lucky guesses on the part of archeological endeavour.  This ancient language remained a mystery for many centuries.  During the Napoleonic wars, an object known as the Rosetta Stone was uncovered in Egypt that changed everything.  It was the stone that unlocked the mystery of this ancient language.  It was simply a decree written onto the stone made by King Ptolemy V of the benefits bestowed on Egypt at the time of his reign in 205BC.  So that all the people could read the decree, it was written in Koine Greek and the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Its importance was realised upon its discovery as the key to unlocking the mystery of the ancient Egyptian language.  With the knowledge of the Greek language widely available, the hieroglyphics was finally decoded with a wealth of information regarding the ancient culture disclosed.  Without this stone, there would be no means of accurately understanding the language. Instead we would be left with many theories suggesting what this text might mean.  If one was to discount the Rosetta Stone, then there would be no means of verifying the accuracy of which this text was understood.  The Rosetta stone is the point for which a trusted and accurate understanding of the hieroglyphic text could be understood.

More recently, there has been much discussion regarding the inerrancy of Scripture.  The Old Testament is the story of the salvation history of Israel leading up to the all-important event of the Incarnation of the God of Israel, Yahweh, whom we know to be the very Person of Jesus Christ.  The very Author behind for which the biblical text points to has now turned up.  Furthermore, Jesus Christ promises that He will dwell in us and He would be the One who, with the Spirit, would lead us into all truth.  In Jesus Christ we find the Inerrant One whose significance as God become Man makes the language of God accessible and within reach of human understanding.  In Jesus Christ, we find God’s own testimony and self-witness in His self-revelation as the One who speaks on His own behalf.  In Him there is no darkness in regard to shedding light on all the ways and works of God.  On the other hand, without Jesus Christ we are completely in the dark regarding the ways and works of God.  So God had to shine in our darkness so that we could see and understand.

Yet, what about Scripture?  Can we truly understand who God actually is in Himself without the Bible as a unitary whole?  Baxter Kruger describes Israel as the womb of the Incarnation.  It is through Israel’s history in her covenantal relationship with Yahweh that brought about a nation ripe and ready to receive her Lord.  Yahweh shaped and moulded the framework of understanding of His people to provide and specific significance for understanding the Person and work of Jesus Christ.  If it were not for Israel’s bloody and messy history in all her recalcitrant and stubbornness towards the love and grace of her God continually wooing Israel like a courting husband  then the cosmic significance of Jesus Christ might never be truly understood.

Scripture cannot stand alone in any attempt to properly draw out its vital message of reconciliation, the Good News of the gospel.  We know there are many denominations in the world who are hardly able to agree on each other what the significance or the main point the biblical text is trying to make.  Debates and arguments have been going around in circles with many theories tabled, debated, argued, disregarded with even more counter-arguments tabled for even more arguments.  People tend to be more concerned about the book than the Author of the book.  There is the tendency to ignore the Rosetta Stone of Christianity as the starting point for properly interpreting the text to show the Good News of the Incarnation, our Immanuel.  The Rosetta Stone of Scripture is none other than the Author of Scripture, Jesus Christ.

If there is anyone better to bring about God’s own intention and purpose of Scripture, would they please stand up and make themselves known!  If there is anyone who knows the Father as intimately as Jesus Christ, would they please stand and make themselves known!  If there is anyone who can share the Godness of God as Light from True Light who is of the same being with the Father, please stand and make themselves known!  The truth of the matter is there is no one who can stand with Jesus Christ and testify the very things of God.  There is no one who stands in the way of this One mediator between God and humanity than the Human Being Jesus Christ.  His knowing of Himself has become united with our knowing of Him.  EVERY other human being apart from Jesus Christ are equal witnesses to Him and for Him. The answer to the pressing questions of Scripture ultimately reside in Jesus Christ.

As we read the text, we are in cognitive union with Jesus Christ who above all is Lord of all the knowledge regarding Himself and our relationship to Him.  There is a mutual indwelling of our person with the Persons of God in the humanity of Jesus, the divine perichoresis as we actually interact with Him and tackle the Scriptures.  Thus we are firstly bound in a relationship of pure grace which has appeared to us as Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we read with Him.  It is in the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ that enables us and helps us to see Him in the midst of our dark and depraved mind.  We must continually repent of any tendency to want to draw our own conclusions in bondage to our fallen self-will and impose it on the relationship we share in the humanity of Jesus Christ.

Without Jesus Christ as our Rosetta Stone, we are truly lost and fall back on ourselves.  We actually make a mockery of Scriptures if we ignore what God has to say about Himself as this very Man.  As we journey with Jesus Christ in the community of the church of the living stones, we are able to trust the Scriptures we read simply because the testify of Him.  In the New Testament synoptics and the gospel of John, we are drawn into the life of the Incarnate God who as the Man Jesus Christ shows us precisely who God is.  We are drawn into the world of the apostles so that we can stand with them, see what they saw and hear what they heard and allow our minds to be opened to the Spirit and learn to live the life God destined for us from the foundation of the world.  We live in communion and fellowship of our Triune God and with His help we start to see the world around us through His way of knowing and seeing in a very personal and intimate way.  In the midst of His fellowship as we engage with the Spirit in the Scriptures, we experience something new over and over again about this unique life we have entered into.  Sometimes our experiences are so unique that we are unable to articulate the glory we see for ourselves.

There is a greater reality beyond the Scriptures for which they are intended to deliver us to.  At the same time, we do not leave Scriptures behind.  There is a continuing sense of awe and mystery as we engage with the biblical text so that through them we have a real presence of Jesus Christ.  In the Saturday Evening Post 26th of October 1929 in the article “What Life Means to Einstein” Albert was quoted as saying in response to following question posed by George Sylvester Viereck;

To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?

(Albert Einstein) “As a Child I received instruction both in the Bible and the Talmud.  I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.

Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?

(Albert Einstein) “Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow.  Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrase-mongers, however artful.  No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot (cleverly devised words).

You accept the historical Jesus?”

(Albert Einstein) “Unquestionably! No one can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.  His personality pulsates in every word.  No myth is filled with such life.”

His reading of the Scriptures led Him to Jesus Christ who is the purpose of the gospels.  They are a witness that can be trusted to do just that.  Albert Einstein rejected the mainstream liberal and evangelical views of Jesus Christ and would not align himself with anyone for or against a belief in God.  But he still gave credit to the mysterious power of the presence of Jesus Christ as he read the gospels.  As we trust John the Baptist to point out the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, we can trust without question the Scriptures to point out Jesus Christ, the Man, the Person who lives in us.  If anyone says the Scriptures cannot be trusted then we can be sure that it is the darkness of mere human beings trying to convince us through cleverly devised stories not to trust the biblical text.  However, if we trust the presence of Christ in us, then it is a totally different story.  We trust the Scriptures because they help us bring the presence of the Living Word of Christ to life, Christ in us, the hope of glory.