Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Samson as Israel
I finished reading the Samson narrative (Judged 13-16) after going through it in detail over the last several months. I found Barry Webb’s summary statement regarding Samson to be profound and deeply moving:
[B]eneath all the surface chaos, and the mad careering here and there of the wild-man hero, there is a steady building toward a predetermined climax of profound theological significance. For Samson is not just Samson; he is also Israel. His is separated from other men, but he longs to be like them, just as Israel is separated from other nations, but is continually drawn to them. He goes after foreign women, as Israel goes after foreign gods. He suffers for his willfulness, as Israel does for its. And in his extremity he cries out to Yahweh, as Israel has repeatedly done. But now it is Samson alone who does so; he is remnant Israel; Israel reduced to a single man. (416-417)
After this summary statement, Webb goes on to place this in canonical perspective and analyze other perspectives of Samson. The commentary is worth the purchase for these sections alone, but the whole thing is phenomenal. I highly recommend that you, dear readers, take the time to read the Bible alongside a solid commentary sometime.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Barry Webb, The Book of Judges (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2012).
This post is the second in a series I’ve been working on which discusses Bible Difficulties–hard passages in Scripture. Other posts in the series can be accessed here.
How should Christians react when met with Bible difficulties? What about when encountering others interacting with Scripture?
When asked why God didn’t make the Bible easier to read… we should remember the example of the Ethiopian whom Philip met on the road (Acts 8:27-36). Philip asked the Ethiopian,” Do you understand what you are reading?” This is the question all Christians should seek to ask when they encounter someone reading Scripture–do you understand? We must inform ourselves such that we can answer the hard questions. The Ethiopian’s answer is equally enlightening: “‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”
How can others understand the Scripture unless someone explains it to them? We should rust to sit with our fellow man or woman when they read Scripture. We should rush to explain it to them in light of Christ. Not only that, but we can apply this very message to our own lives. What about those times we run into a passage of Scripture we find difficult? Should we give up? No, we have many options. We can turn to a fellow Christian and ask for discernment. More importantly, however, we should remember that, as I’ve said before (a quote from a source I cannot remember), “The Bible is the only book whose Author is always present.” The Holy Spirit not only inspired Scripture, but is also omnipresent and ready to fill us with His Word whenever we approach it. We therefore have access to the Author of Scripture whenever we open the Bible.
Geisler once said that the Bible should be given the benefit of the doubt, in cases where potential difficulties arise. This is because of how often it has been right and vindicated in light of extreme criticism (cited in Lee Stroble, The Case for Faith). Archaeological evidence has vindicated various claims of Scripture. Biblical criticism has failed to provide a serious challenge to the message of Jesus (see N.T. Wright’s monumental study, Christian Origins and the Question of God). Thus, as Christians, when we run into a difficulty, rather than assuming the Bible false, we should seek out the answers.
We should adopt the attitude of the Ethiopian in all things. When we encounter others struggling with Scripture, we should help them through this struggle. When we struggle ourselves, we should give the benefit of the doubt to its Author and seek out the answer in the many resources available, including other Christians, prayer, utilizing Scripture to interpret Scripture, etc. Daily, we should explore the Word with the attitude of the Ethiopian–seeking understanding.
The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author.