What the Matrix really is…

Posted: June 30, 2013 by J in Bible, Theology
Tags:

“Do you want to know what the Matrix is, Neo?”

Everyone reads Scripture with assumptions and ideas about what’s going on with the book as a whole. Everyone has a view of ‘what it’s all about’ which colours the way they read the parts. Controlling ideas which frame and guide interpretation. It may be as simple as ‘the Bible is my rule book’, or somewhat more sophisticated, ‘the Bible is about how to get right with God.’

Biblical theology has encouraged the process of identifying and articulating the controlling ideas and categories: the ‘big picture’ or grid. Biblical theology encourages us to see the unity of Scripture: how it all hangs together and what’s at its heart.

What then are the big picture ideas and categories that emerge when we read Scripture in this way? What’s the right grid to read it through?

This is a contentious issue, not everyone agrees on the answer. But it’s worth pursuing: for whatever the book is about, that’s what our world is about.

So I thought it might be helpful for me to ‘come clean’ – to own up what are my guiding lights, the ideas and assumptions that control my own reading. And maybe, for clarity’s sake to contrast them with what are not my big picture ideas.

Here goes:

Controlling category: eschatology*, not soteriology

Controlling genre: narrative, not law or proposition.

Focal location: this created order (earth), not another world

Controlling concept: the kingdom of God, not salvation

Major players: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, mankind, the demonic

Big picture event: the victory of God, not the satisfying of the law

Summary texts: Psalm 110:1

The LORD says to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

and Mark 1:15

not John 3:16     and not Romans 3:28 “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”

Future hope: restored world, not escape from world

Identity of church: outpost of new creation, not preachers of the message

If nothing else, I hope this helps you make sense of some of the other strange stuff you read around this blogsite. 🙂  It might even help you make sense of stuff you read in Scripture – who knows!

I’d love to hear your reactions, reflections on my controlling concepts confession. What could I add to it, or change?

DISCLAIMER: (I don’t often do these so I hope you appreciate this one. 🙂    )

Remember that the not‘s aren’t saying ‘not true’: they’re saying ‘not the big picture idea in this area.’ Many of the not‘s above are true and important, it’s just they’re part of a larger category which I have tried to identify instead. John 3:16 is a beautiful and massively important saying, but it describes one aspect of what God is doing in his Psalm 110:1/Mark 1:15 plan. Preaching is important, but not the big-picture of our identity.

________________________________

*eschatology in the sense of the directedness or forward movement of all things as they head towards the goal which God has planned for his creation.

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