So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another.
at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people
so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice
and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God— what is good and acceptable and perfect.
— Romans 12:2
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
— John 1:14
A worthwhile thought-starter here on the difference between modern ways of reading the Bible and the approach taken by the ancient Fathers, including the writers of the New Testament.
Here’s an excerpt, but I really suggest you follow the link and read the excellent comments as well:
….several key points about the Fathers’ nonliteral and image-laden reading of the Bible.
1. The New Testament authors clearly applied Old Testament texts in ways that departed seriously from the plain, surface meaning of the text. When Paul cites Psalm 19 in Romans 10 (“their voice is gone out into all the world”), he applies the Psalmist’s statement about the heavens to the preaching of the apostles. This runs against the plain meaning, said Wilken.
2. The books of Scripture do not bear their own significance. They must be united to something greater, which is Christ. Thus Paul interprets the creation of man and woman as a great mystery, which is Christ and the church; and he interprets the water-giving rock in the Sinai desert as Christ.
3. Typically, such creative renderings of the Bible are focused on the Old Testament. That is because the Old Testament text signifies Christ, but the New Testament text does not signify another Christ. It requires no allegory or analogy to reveal the Incarnate Word.
4. The Fathers also understood the interpretation of Scripture to require the reader’s participation in the spiritual reality of the text. Thus it is not enough to say that Christ was crucified. We must also say, “I am crucified with Christ,” and thus also I am raised with Christ.
On point #3, above, I’d like to make a further comment. While it is true that it is not “another Christ” that the NT signifies, we do see Paul saying, “even if we had known Christ according to the flesh, we now know him [in that way] no more; therefore if anyone be in Christ there is a new creation… (2 Corinthians 5:16-17), Thus Christ in the NT is not just the historical figure of the rabbi from Nazareth, but is the salvation of the world, good news to the nations (ethne, Gentiles), the beginning and end of history. As such, the full application of the meaning and presence of Christ in all situations, “in whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” requires, it seems to me, a continual re-envisioning of the world as it is (not just as it was in the first century) and, it seems to me also, we have ample precedent in scripture and in the work of the Fathers for applying by extension and analogy the truth of Christ to emerging circumstances, just as the Fathers and the NT writers did with respect to ancient Hebrew texts.