Clarifying God's word

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 20

Jeremiah 11:18-20; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

God's word is not meant to confuse us; at the same time there are things in it that are hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16). Here are three examples.

Gen. 1:26, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness." We say this so often that its strangeness is lost. But compare it with John 1:18, "No one has ever seen God."

Here is another example. Gen. 1:27, "male and female he created them" and Gen. 2:23, "she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." Is man a species with two equal but distinct sexes, or is the woman a derivation, and the beginning of a new line of creation?

Finally, here is an example from this Sunday's Gospel, "he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, 'The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.'"

For the second week in a row we've read these words (see the readings for Proper 19, especially Mark 8:31) and, for the second week in a row, they cause confusion and conflict.

It's time for Jesus to clear up the misunderstanding. And, like a true prophet, that's what He does. He clarifies God's word.

Click here and let's unpack a basic principle of biblical interpretation: that only God can interpret God's word. You'll also learn about the warning: from those most steeped in God's word come the most corrupt interpretations of it.