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The heart of hermeneutics (2)

It is not possible to rightly handle God’s word if the love dimension is missing.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 16 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2023 12:47 h
Photo: [link]Tim Wildsmith[/link], Unsplash, CC0

This is the second part of a series about hermeneutics by Peter Mead . You can read the first part here.



What did Jesus say about Bible study?



In John 5, Jesus is both in trouble and on trial. He had healed a man on the Sabbath and then made himself equal with God when confronted by the authorities. 



His extended speech in verses 19-47 is actually a legal defense speech in what had quickly become a capital trial. By the time we get near the end of the chapter, Jesus is actually turning the tables and putting the Jewish authorities on the back foot.



Jesus knew that he needed a second witness. But as the angry leaders looked at this man from Nazareth, they could not see anyone standing with him. However, he had the best witness of all: God himself. 



[destacate]Jesus had the best witness of all: God himself  [/destacate]  The problem was on their side though, because according to Jesus, they had never heard God’s voice, nor seen God’s form, and they did not have God’s word abiding in them.



 



Bible study experts?



Understandably these Jewish leaders would have balked at that diagnosis of their spiritual state.  They, of all people, spent the most time with their nose in the scrolls.  They were the Bible men of their day. 



They could quote more of the Old Testament from memory than many Christians today have even read.  And yet, Jesus was right.  Something was missing.  And it meant that their hermeneutical approach was rendered useless.



Did they look at the text?  Every day, at length. Did they learn what the text meant?  They would say so.  Did they follow through and consider its implications for how they lived?  Fastidiously. 



These men were the eminent biblical studies professors of their time. And yet, in Jesus’ estimation, they did not have God’s word abiding in them.  What was missing?



 



The missing piece



In the Scriptures there is a relational dynamic at play.  The text is about a person, but they did not believe in him.  They refused to come to him.  Jesus immediately drew the contrast between him and them. 



[destacate]Jewish leaders were the eminent biblical studies professors of their time.  And yet, in Jesus’ estimation, they did not have God’s word abiding in them [/destacate] He did not live for horizontal glory from people but lived with a total orientation toward his father. However, they did live for the glory that would come from people.  Because the horizontal dimension meant everything to them, the vertical dimension was missing. 



And how did Jesus phrase that vertical dimension in their case?  They did not seek the glory that comes from God.  Which meant that they did not have the love of God in them.  (John 5:37-44)



It is not possible to rightly handle God’s word if the love dimension is missing. 



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. He blogs at Biblical Preaching


 

 


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