Jesus and the Apostles’ View of Scriptures

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17–20 is preemptive. He is engaged in radical interpretation and application of scripture which his antagonist may perceive as disregard for the authority of scripture. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill….”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
1 Like

Fantastic article. Thank you.

Now then, the question this generates - how do we plug into the Spirit that is distinct from the letter?

May the Spirit of the Bible take hold of our consciousness as we surrender our anxiety for survival, and trust in God who calls us into a covenant of life

… coupled with

the “word of God” for Jesus and the apostles was not a literalistic or institutionally branded interpretation of scripture. Rather the word of God for them was the liberating light of the Spirit,

… defines the connectedness Jesus was talking about on the Mount. Unless we change our relationship to Jesus, we will end up with the same programmed discipleship generated by “institutionally branded interpretation” , and the end result is the same self-generated Christianity. This is just another subset of our secular life defined by measurable expectations.

The Adventist relationship to Christ is not much different than what the Jews had. - simply replacing Jesus on the cross for the lamb. Unless we see a God of grace and personal love emanating from Christ, we can not be in a relationship where love is spiritually granted and automatically reciprocated.

When the Sabbath merely represents a badge of membership, even if it is to a relationship, it becomes simply part of our secular life (on the books) where 1/7 is given to God, as required. Unless the Sabbath rest is a spiritual rest, it misses being the basis through which the Spirit enters the relationship. While we were yet sinners… we were loved and accepted. This leads into a spiritual relationship.

1 Like

In paragraph 4 you ask: “The real question here is, how did they approach the scriptures and how did they apply and interpret it?”
I strongly recommend the reading of G.Bray, Biblical Interpretation Past and Present, IVP Academic, 47-59 (esp 61-63). See!As13yp0pjIrBhaRQfuiwIfWEWED4rg?e=e1pKa9
Very enlightening.

Hi Mike. I think you intended to reply to the author of the article. That’s not me - I was just the first to comment (confusing on screen); however, I appreciate your reply, nevertheless.

Thank you so much for posting the link to Bray’s book. Just finished reading the portion you suggested
and found it to explains a lot of attitudes that have not changed. We are still doing battle between all the different ways of reading the Bible. Thank you.

Yes, this is a very good book! Thanks!

Olive Hemmings,

I’d like to respond to your thoughtful essay.

In Gal 3:8 Paul describes the giving the covenant promise to Abraham of a blessed Seed.

In verse 9, he describes the adding of the law until the Promised Seed is sent.

In verse 25, he reported that the Promised Seed had arrived.

In verse 24, he declared that "the Law was our schoolmaster (custodian) until [the Seed replaced it with Himself].

Then we have “no more need for the schoolmaster”.

In 2 Cor 3:7, he calls the Torah-- written on stone and in ink–a “ministration of death”, superseded by greater glory of the Spirit.

What about Matthew 5:17?

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill….”

Ellen White did not seem to know that in the Jewish vocabulary the Law was the Pentateuch, never the 10 Commandments (I’m pretty sure) so she championed this passage as proof that the Decalogue was for all time and all people. (She always removed the part of the 10 C that appears to deny this.) Then the entire Law was for all time and all people–alI 613 commandments. (Splitting the Law into two pieces was a post-New Testament action).

I have concluded that Jesus meant, “Don’t think of my mission as destroying the the Law, but as replacing the Law with the Spirit.”

As Paul said later, while the law was in force it felt like a prison warden or or a slave driver. That which was letters carved on stone, or written with ink was now written on the heart (without letters).–Paul never spoke of “the spirit of the law”. It was always the Spirit OR the Law. And by Law he always meant the Torah.

He was livid when he chastised the Galatians for obeying the Torah’s requirement to be circumcised. And the Jerusalem Christians were unhappy with him preaching to Diaspora Jews that the Torah had completed it’s mission.

When speaking of Hagar and Ishmael as analogs of the Law, he implore his hearers to: Cast out the bondwoman and her son: (Gal 4:30)

Paul even succeed in convincing James to declare that he had never supported Gentile involvement with the Torah:

*Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, **subverting your souls, saying, Ye must…keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: (Acts 15:24

I admit that these passages are very seldom heard in Adventist sermons, perhaps because of the secret policies we’ve heard about.


This topic was automatically closed after 7 days. New replies are no longer allowed.