Jesus exegetes God

Whatever is like Jesus is like God; whatever is not like Jesus is not like God. I’ve said this many times in order to clarify that only Jesus Christ tells us what God is like. And just as important, Jesus interprets the Bible for us.

Why is this important? When we don’t use this Jesus Hermeneutic for reading Scripture, we create inconsistent doctrines and convoluted theology. It’s my conviction that most bad theology comes from reading the Bible indiscriminately, as if Jesus never happened. And when we do this, not only is our view of God convoluted and conflicted, it’s dangerously wrong.

This is critically important because, as A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Another dangerous error is to treat all Bible text with equal weight of revelation. This is referred to as a “flat” reading of the Bible, which not only creates conflicted understanding of God, we also run the risk of either condoning or actually doing things that are totally contrary to Jesus, yet we think we’re following Him because we can find a verse in the Bible. I talked about this danger in “The problem with following Jesus.”

We don’t define God by collecting everything written about Him in the Bible. We define God by having Jesus explain Him to us. The truth about God is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus is our theological guide, from Genesis to Revelation. We ignore this truth to our own peril.

How can I make this claim? I can because of the New Testament revelation of God. Here’s what John says about it (New Revised Standard Version – NRSV):

18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. (John 1:18 NRSV *)

The Greek word for the phrase “made him known” is ἐξηγέομαι (exēgeomai), which is where we get the word “exegete” (to expound or interpret). What this verse is saying, then, is that Jesus exegetes God.

Here’s the Amplified Bible translation:

18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known]. (John 1:18 AMP *)

And the Mirror Bible…

1:18 Until this moment God remained invisible to man; now the authentic begotten son, the blueprint of man’s design who represents the innermost being of God, the son who is in the bosom of the father, brings him into full view! He is the official authority qualified to announce God! He is our guide who accurately declares and interprets the invisible God within us. (John 1:18 MIRROR *)

Finally, the Disciple’s Literal New Testament (DLNT) brings this out even clearer:

18 No one has ever seen God; the only-born God, the One being in the bosom of the Father— that One expounded Him. (John 1:18 DLNT)

There are two qualifying points made here. First, Jesus is the only-born Son. The Greek word is μονογενής (monogenēs). In other words, Jesus is uniquely and genetically God’s own, whereas we’re sons and daughters through adoption (Rom.8:15; Gal.4:5; Eph.1:5). Second, when it says that Jesus is “in the bosom of the Father” (NKJV), it means that He proceeds from the innermost being of the Father; He’s in the most intimate relationship with Him.

The point being, Jesus isn’t just a good teacher or gifted interpreter. He’s also not just a great prophet. He is the Christ, the incarnated God and Eternal Son: και θεος ην ο λογος (“And God was the LogosJohn 1:1, 14). The “Word of God” is not the Bible; Jesus Christ is the Word of God. And Jesus Christ is not the Bible. The Bible only testifies of Jesus Christ (John 5:39).

I’m not hyping Jesus in order to emphasize a point; I’m clarifying how we know God so we don’t misrepresent Him.

Jesus Christ is uniquely qualified to explain God to us. No other human can say this…not Adam, not Abraham, not Moses, not David, not the prophets…no one. The best they can give us is their perception of God.

When Jesus speaks, God speaks. When Jesus teaches, God teaches. What Jesus thinks about sinners is what God thinks about sinners. And anyone or  anything that contradicts Jesus contradicts God, even if it’s found in the bible text.

I hope I’ve made my point clear here. 🙂

You can check these posts out for a more thorough treatment of this subject:

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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9 Responses to Jesus exegetes God

  1. Lance says:

    Mel, thanks for the good word. Can I add that the adoption is not a legal, contractual or worldly in any way but is spiritual, eternal, timeless and already resident. Paul recognized the Christ Spirit within him and declared the Christ Spirit was all in all. He even said we all come from the Christ Spirit. Jesus said we are blessed to know who we were before we were born. So, may I suggest, that the adoption is our call to look within to find the core of our being, the divine Christ Spirit that Jesus points us to. Is this mind stretching? Maybe so, but as the great mystics have said we go beyond the mind to find the truth of our being.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Lance. Yes, you’re right. Our adoption exists outside of time (“before the foundation of the world” Eph.1:4). Paul told the Athenians that their own poets said that “we are His offspring” and “in Him we live and move and have our being” in Acts 17. They just didn’t know who He was.
      The only difference with Christ is that He is genetically in the Triune Godhead; we were placed there in Him (Eph.2:6). In that sense, Scripture says we’re “adopted.”

      This is all admittedly hard to grasp in our time-bound minds but true, nonetheless. Spiritual maturity is when we get out of our mind and into His mind! (1 Cor.2:16)

  2. Cindy Powell says:

    “We don’t define God by collecting everything written about Him in the Bible. We define God by having Jesus explain Him to us.” Yes and amen! When I first heard Bill Johnson say “Jesus Christ is perfect theology” it was a beautifully simple way of putting an end to any conflict in interpretation of Scripture and eliminates (at least for me!) the idea of a “flat” reading. I much prefer having Jesus do the explaining! This is great 🙂 Blessings.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Exactly. Bill Johnson succinctly put in one line what I’ve taken several posts to prove. Lol!
      The alternative is to have an untenable view of God with hopeless contradictions that make Him out to be nothing like Jesus. I prefer the Jesus hermeneutic. It’s much simpler and more consistent. And He’s a pretty good Guide. 😊
      Thanks Cindy. Blessings.

  3. Like, like and like, Mel. BTW, that first picture is beautiful. Did you or Maureen paint it?

  4. Pingback: Subversive Jesus | In My Father's House

  5. Pingback: Why Jesus? Part One | In My Father's House

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