05 November 2007

The Power of the Gospel: Part 4

So now that we know when the Gospels were written and what their genre is, we're all sitting in the corner rocking back and forth whispering "But it doesn't make any sense" over and over again, right? Okay, maybe that's just me.

My freshman year of college, while taking my (at the time school-mandated, "I'll never be a Bible major in my life") Intro to the Bible class, I had a bit of a crisis. How on Earth, I wondered, if the Bible was written at a different time in a different culture for different people, could it possibly have anything to do with me? How could it relate? How can I find any applicable meaning to it? Lucky for us (or again, maybe it's just me), William J. Webb wondered the same thing. In his book, "Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals" (don't let the title scare you please), he talks about how to read the Bible in light of those pesky little issues like 2,000-year time lapses and completely opposite cultures. And that, boys and girls, is what we're going to talk about in how to read the Bible (which, oddly enough, includes the Gospels!) today.

I'll save you about 150 pages of reading and give you the gist of Webb's book: find the overarching theme of the passage and apply that to your life.

There are certain passages that are culturally bound in the Bible. For example, Deuteronomy 22:11 tells us not to wear clothes of wool and linen woven together (gosh, there goes my poly-wool blend sock collection!) Then, there are verses that seem culturally bound, but which you can still apply to your life in the 21st century like when God reminds the Israelites of how He brought them out of Egypt in the Old Testament. "Well," you may think "I've never been enslaved in Egypt, and God never brought me out of it, sooooooooo..........how does that work?" The point is to look at the overarching theme (God's deliverance of His people out of seemingly hopeless situations) and then apply that to your life today, aka God delivered His people out of Egypt, so surely He'll deliver me safely out of this taxi and therefore away from the Cab Driver of Death. Moreover, you can look at what the people in the Scripture did in that situation as guidance for how you should conduct yourself. For example, Moses listened to God despite his feelings of inadequacy (Exodus 4) and he ended up delivering God's people from slavery. So when you're sitting in the taxi and hear that still, small voice say "Tell him to pull over a block early" and you feel a little awkward about it, just do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have often found myself saying "so, how does this apply to me and my life?" I'll give your suggestion a try. On the other hand, I too have found myself in what seems to be the cab ride from (you know where)and pryaing that I reach my destination in one piece. Also, I have heard that voice in my head, telling me to do or say something I wouldn't normally do or say, I follow it anyway and it hasn't led me wrong yet. Thank God. Amen. pal