Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every page of the BIble is meant to point us to Christ

One significant idea that I've been learning a lot more about these last few months is how the redemption of Christ is THE central theme running throughout the ENTIRETY of the Bible. If you're a Christian, you might be thinking to yourself that this is obvious. I thought myself that I understood this point as well. But through two main avenues this spring, namely my Systematic Theology class as well as Paul Tripp's book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, I have become convicted that I really have not fully grasped this idea.

My RTS professor did an outstanding job in my class, showing us that the Bible is not merely a collection of stories interdependent of one another. From the most obscure laws in Torah to the mysterious visions in Revelation, all of Scripture is pointing to the person and work of Jesus Christ. This means the more we understand the obscure, rarely studied portions of the Old Testament, the more we really understand who Jesus was and the significance of what he did. This is meant to have a profound impact to us individually as we grow in the understanding of the beauty of the gospel.

Additionally, through Tripp's book, I have seen the way in which we minister the Word to others should be radically different than the way that I have always been taught. In the 2nd chapter of his book, he says:
"Many Christians simply don't understand what the Bible is. Many think of it as a spiritual encyclopedia: God's complete catalog of human problems, coupled with a complete list of divine answers...What we think of as ministering the Word is little more than a spiritual cut-and-paste system. This kind of ministry rarely leads to lasting change...But a truly effective ministry of the Word must confront our self-focus and self-absorption at its roots, opening us up to the vastness of a God-defined, God-centered world. Unless this happens, we will use the promises, principles, and commands of the Word to serve the thing we really love: ourselves."
I am quite guilty of using God's Word this way, as a spiritual encyclopedia. I love to systematize the verses in order to have a handful ready for unloading on any problem. Although, that's not necessarily bad, if I stop there I miss the big picture. Tripp goes on to say it this way:
"If I handle Scripture topically, I will miss the overarching themes at the heart of everything else God wants to say to me. These themes give me a sense of identity, purpose, and direction that will fundamentally alter the way I think, desire, speak, and act. They will go to the root of my problem, producing change that lasts...Being biblical does not mean merely quoting words from within its pages. Being truly biblical means that my counsel reflects what the entire Bible is about. The Bible is a narrative, a story of redemption, and its chief character is Jesus Christ. He is the main theme of the narrative, and he is revealed in every passage in the book.”

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