Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What’s Important? Sometimes It’s Obvious

My last post talked about the fact that not all of the Bible carries the same weight, that is, some parts are more important than others. Again, all of the Scripture has worth, but even Jesus himself pointed
out certain teachings to be more important than others.

So how do we go about deciding what’s most important? If you think, about it, that’s a pretty big question. And all I have are little answers. I’ll set them out one at a time, and let you guys shoot them down.

I’ll take the safe route on the first one:

First clue to identifying important biblical teachings: The Bible says they are important.

I know, I know… it sounds obvious. But how often have you set down to study to see what the Bible identifies as being important? In our ministry, we’re in the process of evaluating our Bible correspondence courses and possibly rewriting new ones. Something has struck me: our courses rarely teach the greatest commandments. Oh, they may be buried in there somewhere. But shouldn’t we stress to people the most important commandments, which are to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as ourselves? Shouldn’t they learn the most important as being, well, the most important?

As we teach the Old Testament, do we follow Jesus lead and teach justice, mercy and faithfulness as being the important matters of the law? I won’t answer for you, but I’ll answer for me: I don’t typically do it.

And I could continue in that vein. That’s why restating the obvious is necessary in this case, because we often overlook this point just because it is so obvious.

So the first step in identifying the most important biblical teachings: look for direct statements of importance. If the Bible says it’s important, it’s important.

1 comment:

Mark Edge said...


I agree with the direction you are going here. Justice and mercy is so easy to ignore in our middle class world! I have also found that helping the poor is the easy part, it is forming the relationships with them that is so hard.

Also, in reference to your thoughts on Rom. 8, right on. Chapters and verses DO limit our ability to contextualize scripture.