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The BibleTree 11-20

The BibleTree 11-20

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What do you think about the Bible?
What do you think about the Bible?

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Published by: Dr Bill Consiglio MSW Mdiv DMin on Sep 22, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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passage, for the Bible often interprets the Bible. He must know enough about literaryforms of expression, and historical or cultural issues related to the author and thepassage in order to give convincing insight into its meaning. Many of the Bible’s criticsfocus on a particular part without understanding its biblical or cultural context.Someone points to Leviticus 20:13, which says, “
'If a man lies with a man asone lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They mustbe put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
 They say, “You see howinsensitive and intolerant God is of gay people.”I must point out several things in my response to this person. First, I must remindthe critic where this passage is located. It is in the Old Testament, and that part of the OTwhich is called “The Law”. I must tell him about the Bible Tree’s threefold division of theBible. This will be explained shortly. I will point out that a passage of Scripture from theOT comes from
the earliest and primitive stage
of man’s knowledge, experience andunderstanding of his relationship with God, God’s nature as the One God, God’s plan andpurpose in creation and salvation, man’s understanding of himself, his world, hisrelationship to others, morality and spirituality. Therefore, we are apt to find moreprimitive thinking and behavior in the OT writings. We should remember that what isrecorded is not necessarily what God condones or approves. I will point out that thepassage also is located in the section of the OT called “the Law”.The Jews had a reverence for the Law given to them by God. In Psalm 19 we seethis description of the Law.
7 The of the LORD is perfect,reviving the soul.The of the LORD
are trustworthy,making wise the simple.8 The precepts of the LORD are right,giving joy to the heart
of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.9 The fear of the LORD is pure,enduring forever.The ordinances of the LORD are sureand altogether righteous.10 They are more precious than gold,than much pure gold;they are sweeter than honey,than honey from the comb.11 By them is your servant warned;in keeping them there is great reward
Secondly, I must explain the
difference between principle and practice
. Theprinciple involved is that same-gender sexual relationships are considered sinful andunnatural by God. This principle is confirmed and binding on the followers of Godespecially if it is upheld in either or both the Gospels (the right tree branch) and theepistles and writings of the apostles (left tree branch).While Jesus does not address homosexuality directly in the gospels, the spirit of theprinciple is maintained. Where? Jesus reinforces heterosexuality as the norm when he
says in the Mark 10:7 context, “
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is itlawful for a man to divorce his wife?" "What did Moses command you?" he replied.They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send heraway." "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesusreplied. "
But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. 'For thisreason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the twowill become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
In the third division of the Bible Tree, this same norm is established in severalplaces. Just one is sufficient to point out! 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says,
“Do you not knowthat the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither thesexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor
homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers willinherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed,you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by theSpirit of our God.”
 Jesus and the apostles are implicitly and explicitly maintaining the OT principle of the heterosexual norm for human sexuality and judging homosexual practice as sinful.“But what about the practice of stoning such people to death as the Leviticus passageprescribes?” While the principle is upheld, it is clear that the practice of stoning wasnever condoned by either Jesus or the apostles. So the practice changed, but theprinciple is upheld. And the principle is upheld because the Bible is viewed as a whole. The Bible is often the best interpreter of itself!
The Word of God is God’s primary means to restore, save and sanctify me.
I try to remember that the whole Bible
is about God’s plan of salvation orrestoration for mankind, including me. It shows how the Father initiated this plan of salvation. In the early stages of the OT, the Father prepares the way for the advent of his Son in the Gospels, and the enactment of his plan in the lives of all people throughhis Holy Spirit. The OT shows the Father’s eternal plan in calling a holy people to Himself,rescuing them from slavery, providing them with a homeland and establishing a systemof blood sacrifice and spiritual worship. In Ephesians 1:3-11 we find a good summary of God’s plan. It says,
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hasblessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we areunited with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us inChrist to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adoptus into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is whathe wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for theglorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so richin kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Sonand forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdomand understanding
God has now revealed to us
his mysterious plan
regarding Christ,
a plan
tofulfill his own good pleasure. And this is
the plan
: At the right time he will bringeverything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and onearth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received aninheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.”
The Trinitarian nature of God and structure of the Bible!
I also try to remember that the Bible ultimately reveals the Trinitarian nature of God and that there is a Trinitarian structure to the Bible. I call this the Bible Tree! The nature of God as a triune God is the distinctive view of God which is unique toChristianity and not shared by any other religion. Jews and Muslims worship amonotheistic God but do not know the fullness of God. The Trinity was revealed by JesusChrist. In John 14, we see the Trinity of divine Persons, and their dwelling in the believer.Jesus says
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another
Counselor to bewith you forever 
the Spirit of 
truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees himnor knows him. But you know him,
he lives with you and will be in you
I will not leaveyou as orphans;
I will come to you.
Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but youwill see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that
I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, heis the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him andshow myself to him." "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching! My Father will love him, and
we will come to him and make our home with him”.
I locate the Bible passage I am reading or studying within the context of the three-fold biblical structure of the Bible Tree.
Four Things to look for in Bible Interpretation!!
I sometimes forget that every time I open my Bible, my Father God is always there– as if waiting for me – and wants to speak with me. I may have to wrestle with somepassage in which the Spirit has a message for me, or, I may receive an immediateillumination. In either case, I realize that every exposure to God’s Word is yet anotherexperience of my relationship to God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); especially as this relatesto the Father’s continuous desire to restore and renew me in the image of His Son. The

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