Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
When I did my first read-through of the Old Testament, I was doing well up until the later chapters in Exodus dealing with the setting up of the Tent of Meeting. It was even worse having to read those chapters a second time as they were repeated directly afterwards (but with “build” changed to “they built”). It was the end of the second book and I already felt like I had crossed a desert with the Israelites. Then came Leviticus: tons of what appeared to be meaningless and sometimes unfair laws. Things that I’d never seen practiced at church either as a kid or an adult. 27 chapters of crawling through the desert getting rules, regulations, and rituals piled on top of me. After surviving and making it to Numbers and through the rest of the Old Testament, I knew something had to change.
The Law of Moses is hard to understand as Christians. It is also just plain hard to read and difficult to concentrate on (much like the prophets). And so the next time, before I started reading the Law, I prayed hard for God to open up the Law to me. I remember I asked many times “Why do I have to read this?” To which the answer was always, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I prayed that the Holy Spirit would open up the passages in the Law that I didn’t understand or that didn’t make sense in a modern context (which is basically all of it). I prayed a lot, because if I had to crawl through the desert of the Law one more time, I might not make it to the Promised Land.
And the Lord was faithful. Upon entering into the Law again, I was greeted with deeper meanings behind the passages than I had thought possible (indeed, the Law was the first part of the Bible that the Holy Spirit began to really open up for me). These lessons from the Spirit not only made the Law tolerable, but they also drove me to read more and deeper and to read the rest of the Word (including the New Testament) in the same manner. Now when Exodus or Leviticus comes up on my reading list, I get excited because I can proudly say that now, “I love the Law!”
What follows are a list of articles that deal with the Law (specifically regulations, rituals, or other formalities in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). Whenever I post a new Law-based article about what the Holy Spirit has taught me from this difficult part of the text, I will update this page with the new post. So check back often. As a note, I am a “salvation by faith not works” Christian, for Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” So when I say that I love the Law, I am not trying to suggest you can be saved through said Law, for salvation is found only through Jesus Christ. Anyway, here are the articles thus far. Enjoy and perhaps you can also learn to love the Law!