The Director's Bible - 019
Read the Bible like an apostle
The only Bible that the apostles had was the Old Testament. The New Testament is the teaching of the apostles as they read the Old Testament in light of Christ. We learn how to read the Old Testament properly from what the apostles taught us in the New. There are some who will say that it is dangerous to expect untrained people to 'exegete' (a word they use that simply means to read and understand what you read) the Bible for themselves. These people are called 'Nicolatitans' (Rev 2:6, Rev 2:15) which means 'conquerors of the laity'. They set up a priesthood in order to give themselves power over others.
The Bereans were not seminary trained. They were simple Jewish people. They knew the language (Hebrew) and the Hebrew scriptures.
The Hebrew Bible comprises twenty-four books, divided into three sections:
- (1) the Torah ("teaching"), comprising the five books of Moses;
- (2) the eight books of the Prophets (Nevi'im, the first and second books of Samuel and Kings are considered one book, as are the twelve "minor" prophets);
- (3) the eleven books of the Writings (Ketuvim, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are considered one book, as are the two books of Chronicles). The Bible is therefore known in Hebrew as the Tanach, the abbreviation formed by the first letters of the names of these three sections.
These are the books that Jesus, the apostles and the Bereans considered 'scripture'. When the apostles taught about Jesus, they did so from the scriptures. (Ac 17:10-12). The Bereans did not simply accept the teaching of the apostles. Can you imagine if a Peter or Paul taught in one of our churches today? Many simply wouldn't hear because they had a strange way of interpreting the scriptures. Others would just believe everything they said, just because they were apostles. This was not the case in Berea. Average synagogue members checked the teaching of the apostles against the scriptures to see if what the apostles taught was true.
The implication is huge. Everything that the apostles taught had to be supported by the Old Testament! Since the New Testament is the teaching of the apostles, everything in the New Testament must be supported by the Old. To read the Bible (the Old Testament) like an apostle, you must be able to find where the Old Testament teaches what the apostles taught in light of Christ. You can do what the Bereans did.
The objection to reading the Old Testament like an apostles is that we are not apostles. The insinuation is that the apostles had some supernatural gift that enabled them to read the Bible correctly. This is patent nonsense. The implication of such nonsense is that the average person cannot read the Bible. Why would God remove all mediators between himself and us except for Jesus (1Ti 2:5), and then give us a Bible that cannot be read except by special mediators?
What is being proposed here is NOT Rabbinic Midrash or Pesher interpretations. The apostles were not rabbis. They learned how to interpret scripture from Jesus. The reason that there are similarities is because Jesus also taught the Jews how to read the scripture when he was 12 years old in the temple. The difference is that they perverted his teaching into Midrash and Pesher in order to lead the people astray. Though the methods are similar the result differ significantly based on the rules which constrain the interpretation from becoming free-for-all allegory.
Those who wish to interpret scripture properly cannot be sloppy in the application of the rules or the result is nothing more than free-for-all allegory.