Something I’ve said for a long time now is that you cannot properly understand the Bible without Jesus interpreting it for you. Yet, many Christians read the Bible indiscriminately, as if Jesus never happened. Historically, and even to this day, quoting the Old Testament to justify just about every questionable thing.
But if we’re to take a Christocentric view of Scripture, we pretty much need to read it backwards. In fact, the only way we fully know what God is like is if Jesus explains Him to us.
No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor
except the uniquely beloved Son,
who is cherished by the Father
and held close to his heart.
Now he has unfolded to us
the full explanation of who God truly is! (John 1:18 TPT, emphasis added)
We are read the Bible through the interpretative lens of Jesus Christ. This means that whatever is not like Christ, or what He taught us about His Father, is not like God…no matter who said it. Conversely, whatever is like Christ is like God. For more background on this point, you can go to my previous posts here and here on what’s been called the “Jesus Hermeneutic.”
I’ve talked about the writings and teaching of René Girard and his Mimetic Theory and Scapegoating mechanism in the last couple of posts. Girard also had a profound understanding of the trajectory of Scriptural revelation. This, again, is from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
“According to Girard, this is the completion of a slow process begun in the Hebrew Bible. Once and for all, the New Testament reverses the violent psychosocial mechanism upon which human culture has been founded.”
“In Girard’s views, the Hebrew Bible is also crucial in its rejection of ritual sacrifice. Some prophets vehemently denounced the grotesque ritual killing of sacrificial victims, although, of course, the ritual requirement of sacrificial rituals permeates much of the Old Testament. Girard understands this as a complementary approach to the defense of victims. The prophets promote a new concept of the divinity: God is no longer pleased with ritual violence. This is evocative of Hosea’s plea from God: “I want mercy, not sacrifices”. Thus, the Hebrew Bible takes a twofold reversal of culture’s violent foundation: on the one hand, it begins to present the foundational stories from the perspective of the victims; on the other hand, it begins to present a God that is not satisfied with violence and, therefore, begins to dissociate the sacred from the violent.”
“Under Girard’s interpretation, the New Testament is the completion of the process that the Hebrew Bible had begun. The New Testament fully endorses the victims’ perspective, and satisfactorily dissociates the sacred from the violent. (Rene Girard, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, emphasis added)
Here is a short video by YouTuber, Les Bridgeman, which I thought gave a great way to explain Girard’s view of the Bible in under 5 minutes:
Bridgeman also has a similar teaching video titled, “René Girard’s Mimetic Theory in 4 Minutes” which is also helpful in understanding Girard’s theories.