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ReasonableRuben
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06/11/2017 3:52 am  

1 Peter 2:7-8b (NET)

“Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.” So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over.

To those of us who believe that Jesus was Who He said He was, He is most precious. We love Him not just because of Who He is, but also because of what He did for us. For me, doing regular, devotional reading of the Scriptures is an effort to remind my naturally cool soul of how precious God ought to be to me. I say to myself, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy name!”

If you would prayerfully approach God in and through His word, my hope and prayer is that we could together come to know Him better and appreciate Him more fully, growing in our capacities to see and savour Him.

I have posted this thread in the "Christian Doctrine" sub-forum, because it seemed the most appropriate place. My hope is that we could help each other to understand the more difficult parts of Scripture, but also that we could exult together over its most wonderful passages.

Edited: 1 month  ago

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ReasonableRuben
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06/11/2017 3:56 am  

In my devotions, I find myself in the book of Matthew. Tomorrow, I'm leading the young adults of my church congregation in a study of the following passage, and I take my devotion here in an effort to soak myself in the passage before teaching on it. Any insights would be helpful.

Matthew 5:21-26 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Edited: 1 month  ago

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Language-Gamer
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06/11/2017 9:53 am  

I think “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.” has a lot of purchase that we don’t really act in accordance with. Just think of all of the times we’ve wronged someone and don’t seek to reconcile before worshipping. 


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Language-Gamer
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06/11/2017 9:57 am  

I’m reading through 2 Cor. Here’s something I wrote on 2 Cor. 3 for a recent paper. 

In this section, Paul is confronting a problem. There is opposition to Paul and they come bearing letters of recommendation. What, then, can Paul show? Clearly Paul's life and ministry are not up to snuff (2 Cor. 10:1-12:10).

Paul's answer is that his letter of recommendation is the Corinthians themselves, a letter from Christ. Here, in new covenant overtones, he contrasts letters inscribed on fleshly hearts as opposed to stone. Paul is a minister of the Spirit, not the script.
To defend his position, Paul reads Exodus 34. Because of his encounter with God, Moses' face was transfigured thus bearing a glory too great for the Israelites to gaze on it even though that glory is being nullified by the greater glory of Christ in the ministry of the Spirit.[3] Moses veiled his face so they would not see what was being brought to its "purpose" or "goal."[4] For both of these reasons, they focused on the script. However, even the script itself points to the glory, God's transfiguring encounter. Thus, both Moses and the script point to the greater glory of Christ.

Focusing on the text as an end in itself, therefore, leaves one veiled. Only those who turn to the Lord are able to see what Moses and the script have always pointed to, transformation into the image of Christ. The Spirit-inscribed community reads with unveiled face while those who fail to see the glory of Christ in this passage (and the rest of Scripture more broadly) read with a veiled face. This is precisely because the Spirit brings hermeneutical freedom.[5] Given the previous new covenant overtones, we see that revelation has always been about the encounter with God, by God's transformation. Therefore, "there is no true reading without moral transformation, and there is no moral transformation without true reading."[6]

So, "Paul is a minster of the new covenant of the Spirit because he proclaims the message that brings this eschatological community into being."[7] When Paul reads Exodus 34, then, he is saying that to see God's revelation has always been to see transformation by the Spirit, not something written. Therefore, the written letters of recommendation that his opponents have are superseded by Paul's letter of recommendation, the letter from Christ of the transformed Corinthian community by the Spirit. To quote Hays, "Consequently, the deepest paradox of the passage emerges: Paul's reading of the sacred text (Exodus 34) reveals that revelation occurs not primarily in the sacred text but in the transformed community of readers."[8]

To reiterate, this is all part of Paul's reading of Exodus 34. As Hays bluntly puts it, "Let us not deceive ourselves about this: Paul would flunk our introductory exegesis courses."[9] For Paul, then, the proof of a right reading of Scripture is to see the glory of Christ which leads to the transformation of the community by the Spirit. Right reading is not about discovering the human author's intention, but the guidance of the Spirit in the life of the holy community. Richard Longenecker, however, says that we should not follow the hermeneutical methods of the New Testament authors.[10] Most readers will reject this position so let it simply be stated that this would be to cut the New Testament off from its roots.[11]

It is hard to see how we do not read Scripture with veiled eyes if we reject figural reading. To summarize, this paper has argued that confessing the catholic church, confessing core Christian convictions, and following the New Testament writers means embracing figural reading. However, a prominent objection must be confronted.

[3] This whole section is dependent upon Hays, Letters, ch. 4. Ibid., 133-135.
[4]Ibid., 135-138.
[5]As Hays says, "I write these words in mortal terror of having them quoted back at me by students rebelling against exegesis paper assignments." Ibid., 149.
[6]Ibid., 152.
[7]Ibid., 131.
[8]Ibid., 144.
[9]Ibid., 181. For many, this conclusion might be disturbing. The argument here is that this should open up vistas of interpretation. As Hays says on page 184, "Indeed, Paul's way of using Scripture suggests that homiletical and prophetic readings can sometimes be more faithful than rigorously exegetical ones."
[10]Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 219. I owe the reference to Hays, Letters, 180.
[11]I have read multiple places where a similar saying is attributed to Moisés Silva, but I am unable to find any of these works or his original words. Nonetheless, the idea is not my own. Recall the earlier quote from Henri de Lubac which is about the early church but which equally applies to the New Testament authors, "Were we to view Christianity as a body of doctrine, the interpretation would not be a garment thrown over it after the event but a part of the body itself, whose unifying spirit is the present reality of the Saviour." de Lubac, "Spiritual," 9.


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ReasonableRuben
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07/11/2017 4:52 pm  

What do you think about this statement re. anger (does it comport with Scripture)?

Righteous anger is, at bottom, redemptive in nature.

Not commited to its truth, but we discussed this last night at my bible study group and it seemed like an insight.

 

Edited: 1 month  ago

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Language-Gamer
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07/11/2017 5:27 pm  
Posted by: ReasonableRuben

What do you think about this statement re. anger (does it comport with Scripture)?

Righteous anger is, at bottom, redemptive in nature.

Not commited to its truth, but we discussed this last night at my bible study group and it seemed like an insight.

Hmm, I'm not sure precisely what you mean. Nonetheless, we can be righteously anger and that not lead to a person's redemption. I might be righteously angry at some terrorist's acts but that not lead to his redemption. 

 


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ReasonableRuben
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07/11/2017 5:52 pm  

Granted. What I meant was that one of the characteristics of righteous anger seems to be that it is aimed at the redemption of its object.

E.g. I can be angry, as God is, at the terrorist, but I should have the redemptive "heart" of God in my anger.


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ReasonableRuben
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07/11/2017 5:55 pm  

Of course, even God's redemptive stance towards the terrorist need not lead to his redemption. 


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Language-Gamer
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07/11/2017 9:24 pm  
Posted by: ReasonableRuben

Granted. What I meant was that one of the characteristics of righteous anger seems to be that it is aimed at the redemption of its object.

E.g. I can be angry, as God is, at the terrorist, but I should have the redemptive "heart" of God in my anger.

Hmm, I wonder if there is good terminology that is not so abstract that can get at all of the pieces. For instance, pursuing justice and peace in the sense of right relationship and reconciliation are all aspects of it. Redemption probably captures part, particularly with its imagery of buying back from slavery and so being willing to be crucified for the sake of someone who is sold under slavery, but I'm not sure it gets at the whole picture. That is, it could be taken to such an extreme that justice has no part. 


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ReasonableRuben
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08/11/2017 8:04 pm  

Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Brett. Unfortunately I've been super busy lately so my comments here are lacking, but this conversation has got me thinking. ☺


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ReasonableRuben
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13/11/2017 12:18 am  

Matthew 5:33-48

I've been meditating on this passage for about a week.

Praying that God would help me to obey this daily.

Edited: 4 weeks  ago

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Philip Rand
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13/11/2017 6:56 am  

Jude 9-10


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ReasonableRuben
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14/11/2017 10:12 pm  

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." ~Jude vss. 24-24

 

Amen indeed. Also, Jude was savage in this letter. =P


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Language-Gamer
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14/11/2017 10:59 pm  
Posted by: ReasonableRuben

Matthew 5:33-48

I've been meditating on this passage for about a week.

Praying that God would help me to obey this daily.

You should read Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. 


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Philip Rand
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15/11/2017 2:12 am  

You write ReasonableRuben: Also, Jude was savage in this letter.

Don't you find it interesting that the Book of Jude concerns apostasy and that the next book in the Bible is Revelation?


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