We are winding up our list of principles to observe when reading the Bible.  So far we have covered:

  1. The Bible is to be read like any other book
  2. Read the  Bible Existentially
  3. Historical Narratives are to be Interpreted by the Didactic
  4. The implicit is to be interpreted by the explicit
  5. Determine carefully the meaning of words
  6. Note the presence of parallelisms in the Bible
  7. Note the difference between proverb and law

Only three more of these rules and we’ll be near the finish line.

Today we study Observe the Difference Between the Spirit and the Letter of the Law.

The Bible doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about the Pharasees.  Oh, they were the paragons of virtue in their day.  They knew the Bible, had impressive positions, they even went a little above & beyond when it came to tithing and things like that.  But Jesus wasn’t really friendly to them.  Why?

I think it has something to do with their twisted idea that they could be righteous without God’s help.  They knew the law, but their strict adherence to it demonstrated an arrogance that led to a belief that righteousness was about the rules, not about holiness.  In effect, they had a distorted view of the law and Jesus made it clear that their approach was wrong.

There is a corresponding error that is often overlooked because we have become so fixated on the error of the Pharasees.  This error is called antinomianism and it elevates the spirit of the law to a point where actual adherence to the letter of the law is considered sinful.  It is frequently a prideful response to people that dare to call sin what it is.

Rather than thinking that we should obey the spirit of the law and not worry about the letter of the law, or that we should obey the letter and forget the spirit, we should keep both the letter and the spirit.