Formed in the Faith by the Bible
The most important thing to learn in being formed in the Faith by the Bible is to understand that all of Scripture is about Jesus! That will not be readily apparent by reading the Book cover to cover. But our Lord Jesus himself helps us in the Gospels with this important interpretive key.
In John 5:39 Jesus spoke to the religious scholars of the day. He said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” As another example, consider the resurrected Jesus’ words to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:27. There we read, “Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
A temptation to the reader of the Holy Book is to assume that the Bible is “God’s Book of Rules.” Accordingly then, the narratives become moral tales. And certainly there are rules and moral lessons to be learned. Another temptation is to treat Holy Writ as a book of mysteries that the careful and meditative reader uses to try to unlock higher spiritual truths.
There are indeed many things that beneficially can be taken from the Bible, not the least of which is practical advice for daily living. But until we understand that all Scripture points to Jesus we will miss the chief aim of God’s Word. Until we recognize that Jesus is the hero, the main actor, and the climax of the overarching narrative, we will have missed the primary purpose of the Bible.
The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob point to Jesus, as do Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and King David. The tabernacle and the temple point to Jesus. The animal sacrifices, the Exodus, all the wars, all the poems, and even the genealogies point to Jesus!
If we think the Bible primarily tells us how to live, we will miss what Jesus accomplished by dying and rising for us, and the implications of this for our lives.
Since You Asked…
Why do we say in the Creeds that Jesus Christ “is seated at the right hand of the Father”? Does this mean that our Lord is far away from us?
This has little to do with Christ’s physical location. Instead it has to do with the authority he assumes. For a King to be seated on a throne is a symbolic gesture of his rule and authority. Heaven itself is a reality that transcends time and space. It is the unseen and timeless realm that underlies the visible and temporal world. We confess Christ to be seated at the right hand of the Father because we believe him to be the rightful King of the universe. Indeed, Jesus is Lord!