Often times learning about Church History can seem like we’re looking through a viewmaster. We click the button, the feuds flip by, and all that we get our minds around are names, dates, and important moments. The comfort of detachment can roll over us with the greatest of ease, because after 24 clicks we’ve gotten the whole lesson. But in reality each frame has about 10,000 pixels unexplored by our naked eye, and what was gained in the ease and speed of the viewmaster was lost in its method.

We can treat reading scripture in a similar fashion, click, click, click and we’re at the death of Jesus; click, click, click and we’re at the church in Corinth; click, click, click and the lamb is returning. What we gain in the ease and speed of reading like this is lost because of its method. One of the ways we can slow down is by paying attention to the inter-textuality of scripture.

Did you know that our New Testament texts are filled with inter-textual connections?

What are ‘inter-textual connections”? You’ve seen them, in fact you’ve seen dozens of them. Whenever a piece of literature quotes something or alludes to something or implies something that it has layed down previously within its own pages it is expressing inter-textuality. The Hebrew Bible is filled with inter-textualism’s, particularly the Prophets and Psalms. Its as if the Bible, our Father’s book, was conversing with itself, raising older questions within its narratives and inviting you and I into the drama and life transforming discipline of listening to its inter-conversations. Because of the large amount of inter-texualism in Scripture our Father’s book can not be read and understood without having a grasp on both the Old Testament and the New Testament (particuarly the Gospels of Christ).

What if our iliteracy of the Old Testament has more of an effect upon our reading of the New Testament than we realize? What if that viewmaster appraoch to reading scripture had a shelf live of the 80’s, that it was good while it lasted but wasn’t intended to be permanent? What might we be losing by reading scripture too quickly?

I appreciate ‘what if’ questions because they keep me coming back  to ponder them, to weigh not just my intellectual conclusions but my heart-felt commitments in light of those conclusions. I leave you with these ‘what if’ questions to ponder, to wrestle through. May our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, be your light and lead you by his Spirit into all the light of the Father. In order that you may see Him and be like Him…