What if Jesus Challenged Peter, James, and Paul?


When it comes to viewing scripture in a Christological lens, it has become quite the norm for that to mean either a typology –  that it represents the coming of Jesus, or an allegory which usually will have salvation as the ultimate meaning. The reason is because many have come to see Christ simply as the One who came to save sinners. In that case, they will see through a  “salvation-from-bondage” grid. How one sees Christ will determine how they interpret scripture.

An example is how we see the Old Testament. With a certain understanding from Paul, we might see the many rules in the Old Testament as a category of bondage of which Jesus set us free from. With that simple understanding of Jesus with the big help of Paul, there seems to hardly be any trouble with interpreting scripture with a christological lens. However, this poses a problem with the New Testament. What do we do with a text that seems to go contrary to what Jesus taught and did?

What if a Christological hermeneutic meant more than a “salvation-from-bondage” grid? What if we used Jesus – all that we can gather up through exegetical work – to critique what other authors have said? And no, I’m not just talking about the Old Testament, I’m referring to, especially, the New Testament authors. What if we took what Jesus said (if anything) about secular government, church government, sexual ethics, women in ministry, slavery, baptism, faith, love and violence, salvation and judgment, tithes and offering, and used it as a critique against Peter, James, and yes, even Paul too?

I believe that the meaning of Jesus and all that he did is too great to limit his work to salvation from sin. For too long we’ve used Paul to interpret the gospel and beyond. I think it’s time we begin to use Jesus to challenge what Paul and others have taught.

Oh where will this road lead if we use Jesus as the prism, filter, or standard to critique what others in the New Testament have stated?

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