ch. 6 a long form book response to The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns

Until last autumn, I had not read any of Dr. Peter Enns' books although I am a regular reader of his blog at Patheos, "rethinking biblical christianity..." I did write a brief review in November and after writing the long form book response to Flood's book Disarming Scripture, I thought it would benefit me to reflect more on this book as well. It is an excellent book and written in a more accessible style than Flood's. There are only seven chapters with numerous sub-headings in each chapter.

The 6th chapter is titled, "No one saw this coming." There are so many good quotes here. It will be tough to select a few. The situation is the Old Testament provides the setting for Jesus, but Jesus changes everything, which means everything before him needs to be read in light of the Jesus Event. His followers had a text to work from, but it had to be reworked and understood afresh.
To talk about Jesus they had to adapt and transform the old language for a new task.
Watching the New Testament writers at work yields a valuable lesson for Christian readers today: explaining Jesus drove the early Christian writers to read their Bible in new, sometimes radically different, ways.
The Bible was nonnegotiable as God's word, but it wasn't God's final word. Jesus was. (p. 195)
As the beloved apostle says at the beginning of the fourth gospel, the Word of God is Jesus.

In Luke's gospel, after Jesus returns from the dead, he meets his apostles and tells them, Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

The problem for us Bible students is "you won't find anything about a future messiah dying and rising from the dead on the third day, the very thing Jesus says you will find there." (p. 202)

But as Luke says, "he opened their minds." Thus Matthew can take Hosea's writing about Israel coming up out of Egypt and apply it to Jesus whose parents had taken him to there to flee Herod. When Isaiah spoke of a young woman bearing a child, Matthew used the Greek translation to turn into the miracle of the virgin birth.

Paul, a devout Jew, converted to Christianity after the resurrection also had to undo all of his religious training. Enns lays out one of Paul's dilemmas. "If this Jesus is God's answer, what is the question?" (p. 216) "If Jesus dying and walking out of a tomb is God's solution, maybe the problem - the deeper problem - God has in his sights is ...death." (p. 217) And if death is the problem, then it's not just a Jewish problem, it's a problem for all ethnic groups. Enlarging God's care to all people, regardless of ethnicity, was new to Paul as well as the early church. Paul had to argue for the freedom of Gentile believers to not be kosher, to not get circumcised, and to be a people united by baptism and communion and belief.

If that's true then Torah obedience was no longer defining for God's people. "But Paul isn't reading the Old Testament on its own terms. Paul rereads his Bible through the lens of Jesus, God's final word." (p. 220) Jesus disrupts everything and his followers continue his trail breaking. "For Christians, then, the question is not 'Who gets the Bile right?' The question is and has always been, 'Who gets Jesus right?'" (p. 227)

For me, getting Jesus right involves loving him demonstrated by loving my neighbors.


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