Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reading the Bible with Jesus

Our Wednesday night adult education is called Reading the Bible with Jesus. The idea is to take a look at the meta-narratives of the first five books of what Christians call the Old Testament and to think about how a devout Jew such as Jesus would understand those stories. Last week we looked at Genesis and the Abraham saga. The primary theme: covenant.

What would belief in the Abrahamic covenant mean to Jesus? Circumcision. Yes. What else? How about the concept of "being chosen." Take a look at the three key narratives about Abraham in Genesis: Chapter 12:1-8, Chapter 15, and Chapter 17.

Walter Brueggemann in his Genesis commentary speaks of "vertical exclusiveness" and "horizontal inclusiveness." Abraham committed to the God of the covenant, and he was to be a blessing to the nations. Sound a lot like how Jesus responded to the question: What is the greatest commandment: #1 - Love God (vertical) and #2 Love your Neighbor (horizontal).

What does it mean for Christians to understand themselves as chosen?

Next week - Exodus.

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