Moments of truth come to us in different ways. And for many of us the Bible has given us our best understanding of defining moments. Like the first time our first parents pointed their fingers at one another in an effort to protect themselves. Or when the long-awaited Hope of a nation refused to defend himself, and instead used some of his last breaths to say, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” Or when he earlier warned his followers that they would take a lot of grief for following him.
But if this is so, how could the Book that has given us so much insight also have been the weapon of choice for masters and economies that looted native populations, bought and beat slaves, and abused their women, while considering themselves chosen by God to live off of the back of others?
Looking back, I consider it an important defining moment for me when, fairly late in life, I read a book that opened my eyes to the obvious— that there are different ways of connecting the dots when it comes to our understanding of Scripture. How else can we explain so many varying theologies, interpretations, applications, and uses of inspired words?
At some point it also began to sink in that even Jesus and Paul read, quoted, and applied the Scriptures of Israel in ways that were not only very different than the religious leaders who hated them— but also different from the way I had learned to read the many translations I have on my bookshelves, phone, and computer.
Yes, we need to be careful not to end up with a book that just says what we want it to say. That’s the point. And maybe that’s why Paul in his his first letter to the Corinthians reminded his readers that, when he was first with them, he wanted to lay a foundation that was nothing other than the long awaited King and Hope of the world— crucified.