You Can't Accurately Interpret the Bible Without This Perspective

(Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash)

One of my favorite artists paints amazing pictures of biblical text using the text itself to make the picture. In other words when he paints a picture of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, he uses the Hebrew text in different sizes and colors to bring forth the artwork. Each letter upon the canvas becomes a part of the greater picture. If you stand back from the painting, all you see is a beautiful piece of artwork, but as you get closer you see that the entire painting is made up of text from the Holy Scriptures. And if you get even closer, you see the beautiful scribal work that forms each individual letter.

As I was reading the Bible this week, I was thinking about this artist and his work and how beautiful it was that he could visualize the final picture and put all of those individual tiny letters of different colors in the right order and the correct place to become a part of the whole. His artwork is viewed first as the whole picture, and then as you get closer, you see all of the small parts that together make the whole picture visible.

As I looked at one of these pictures, I realized once again how the Bible is very much a work of art just as these pictures are. Every letter, word, sentence, phrase, paragraph, page, chapter and book in the Bible was perfectly designed by the master artist. Only when each letter, word, sentence, phrase, paragraph, page, chapter and book are in their right place is the picture able to be seen as intended. So we start with the whole Bible and as we get closer we see the fine detail of each smaller part that brings our focus to the exquisite beauty that makes the Bible such a unique piece of artwork.

The more I thought about this concept, the more, I realized just how important it was that we saw each letter written in Scripture not individually and separate but as part of the whole text. While an individual phrase might be beautiful on its own, its full beauty can only be recognized and viewed when it is in its proper place and context.

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Unfortunately for many Bible readers the full context of G-D's artistry is never seen because passages of the Bible are removed from their full context as if to be displayed as a completely separate work of art. The Bible is divided into Old and New Testaments, The Gospels are separated from the epistles, and even the epistles are divided by authors as if they were not inspired by the same G-D. The more we divide the parts of the Bible into individual works, the less we see of the absolute beauty of the original designed masterpiece.

To often today people start by looking close up and focusing in on the tiny individual letters of the picture and never see the whole painting. Verses then become completely out of the context of the original design, and while these small letters or even sections are beautiful, they are not complete and cannot be understood totally because they are not viewed as part of the entire work.

The reason so many people claim to believe in the same Bible yet are divided into so many different denominations is because each is viewing the individual letters and believing that they are seeing the complete masterpiece. The body of Messiah will only become truly one when we step back from staring at parts of the whole and embrace the absolute beauty of the complete intended masterpiece from Genesis to Revelation, believing that every letter, phrase, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter and book is relevant to us today if we are going to see what G-D intended the painting to be.

Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer and Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians.

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