Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Bible and Jesus

As I've mentioned before, I've been reading the Gospel of Mark slowly over the past couple of months. My plan from the beginning was to read a passage and write about it privately (not primarily for the blog), and that remains my plan. I'm thinking of this as a devotional practice in which, instead of reading someone else's devotional (there are plenty of good ones, of course), I write my own.

Of course I have a guiding principal or two. Foremost among them is the hermeneutical assumption that each and every passage is about Jesus. You might think this would be obvious, but many devotionals take each passage as an opportunity to teach a lesson about life, or having the right attitude, or doing the right things. Sometimes they're helpful, but advice is different than seeing (being shown) Jesus. My assumption is that this was Mark's purpose in writing his account: to show Jesus to his readers.

So the question I'm always asking myself is, how does this passage, this episode in the life and ministry of Jesus, help to clarify my understanding of Jesus?

I'm just about to the end of chapter 2 now, and maybe picking up a little steam. I've written about 30 devotional entries, each one no more than one page in length, two to three hundred words I suppose. It's been fruitful, and also fun, and I would recommend the practice to others. I know many of us need to get over the notion, enforced by lots of preachers, that the Bible is a recipe book for Christian living. It is not. It is a revelation of Jesus.