A gracEmail reader in Singapore sends thanks for this ministry, then asks, “Is there a problem with our hermeneutic (the way we read and interpret Scripture) in the Churches of Christ?”
* * *
This question is far broader than Churches of Christ. The bottom line is that people in many different Christian groups tend to read the Bible as if it were a legal code to be rationalized and interpreted, instead of a revelation of the personal God who invites us to know and love him, and in that context to trust and obey him each new day (Deut. 6:4-9; Matt. 11:25-30). Little wonder that so many Christians find Bible study dry and unproductive and their relationship with God more theoretical than practical.
The ancient Pharisees and scribes read the Scriptures as if they were heartless documents, instead of a combined collection of sacred writings which bared the Father’s heart (John 5:39-43). Some well-meaning people today also mistakenly read the Bible as if it were a maze or puzzle which hides the path to salvation from all but the lucky few who manage to decipher it correctly. In fact, it is a bright light, powered by God himself, which illuminates the humble heart (2 Cor. 4:1-6). From first to last, it points the reader to Jesus Christ and to salvation through trusting in him (2 Tim. 3:14-15).
God wants loving, trusting, obedient, joyful children. He has no interest in logical, calculating robots. Jesus does not call us to be scribes and Pharisees but disciples and friends (John 15:14-16). This is the only path to obedience that is consistent, delightful and satisfying to the soul. The problem with the law-code or legalistic approach is not that it is too biblical, but that it is unbiblical, nonbiblical and anti-biblical. We do not need to worry much about finding a correct hermeneutic. We do sorely need to ask God for a new heart (Ps. 51:10-13; Ezek. 36:26-27; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:22-24).