The teaching of Jesus was shaped by and rooted in scripture. His words were often punctuated with “It is written…” and “Have you not read…” This lesson will focus on the Lord’s attitude toward God’s word.
THE ATTITUDE OF THE PHARISEES
Symbolism Over Substance
- The Pharisees emphasized external religiosity and devalued internal spirituality.
- They did many things that symbolized holiness, but they lacked true devotion (Matt. 23:23-28).
Loopholes Over Law
- Though they verbalized a deep commitment to the Law of Moses, their actions showed otherwise.
- They were not above engaging in hermeneutical gymnastics in order to invalidate laws they didn’t want to follow (Mark 7:9-13).
Haughtiness Over Humility
- They loved to be seen and praised by others.
- Matthew 23:5-7; 6:1-8, 16-18; John 12:42-43; Luke 18:9-14
Custom Over Commandment
- As time passed, a body of traditions developed among the Pharisees that eclipsed the Law as their object of devotion.
- Matthew 15:1-3, 8-9
THE ATTITUDE OF JESUS
Much of this section has been condensed from Dave Miller’s article, “Jesus’ Hermeneutical Principles,” available at www.apologeticspress.org.
The Scriptures Are Inspired
- He endorsed David’s words in Psalm 110:1 as having come from the Holy Spirit (Mark 12:36). He believed that Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel 9:27 was an inspired prediction that was destined to come true (Matt. 24:15).
- He expressed his belief that Malachi’s prophecy of the coming of Elijah (Mal. 4:5) had been fulfilled (Mark 9:11-13).
- Jesus recognized that scripture originated in heaven in the mind of God – therefore, there was a tight unity of all the scriptures (Luke 24:44).
- Jesus consistently illustrated that he believed in verbal inspiration – that the very words written down were chosen by God (Matt. 5:18; 22:32).
The Scriptures Are Historically Accurate
- He believed Daniel to be a real person (Mark 13:14). He believed Jonah’s experience to be real (Matt. 12:40).
- He believed in the Genesis account of creation (Matt. 19:4), the flood (Luke 17:26-27), the destruction of Sodom and the fate of Lot’s wife (Luke 17:29, 32).
- He believed in the historical accuracy of the accounts of Elijah’s experiences (Luke 4:25-26) and the story of Naaman (Luke 4:27).
The Scriptures Are Authoritative
- Jesus relied heavily on the scriptures when he conversed with people about life and personal conduct (Matt. 19:3-4; Luke 10:25-26).
- When he described Abraham’s conversation with the rich man in Hades, he quoted Abraham’s statement, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29).
- In John 10:34-35 Jesus declared, “the scripture cannot be broken.” It cannot be negated or refuted. It governs all of life and will accomplish what God wants it to accomplish (Isa. 55:10-11).