The third element in our reading of Scripture is that it
should be Christ-centered. The Scriptures constitute a coherent whole
because they all are Christ-centered. Salvation through the Messiah is
their central and unifying topic. He is as a "thread" that runs
through all of Holy Scripture, from the first sentence to the last. We have
already mentioned the way in which Christ may be seen foreshadowed on the pages
of the Old Testament.
Much modern critical study of Scripture in the
West has adopted an analytical approach, breaking up each book into different
sources. The connecting links are unraveled, and the Bible is reduced to a
series of bare primary units. There is certainly value in this. But we need to
see the unity as well as the diversity of Scripture, the all-embracing end as
well as the scattered beginnings. Orthodoxy prefers on the whole a synthetic
rather than an analytical approach, seeing Scripture as an integrated whole,
with Christ everywhere as the bond of union.
Always we seek for the point of convergence
between the Old Testament and the New, and this we find in Jesus Christ.
Orthodoxy assigns particular significance to the "typological" method
of interpretation, whereby "types" of Christ, signs and
symbols of His work, are discerned throughout the Old Testament. A notable
example of this is Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem, who offered bread and
wine to Abraham (Genesis 14:18), and who is seen as a type of Christ not only
by the Fathers but even in the New Testament itself (Hebrews 5:6; 7:l). Another
instance is the way in which, as we have seen, the Old Passover foreshadows the
New; Israel's deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea anticipates our
deliverance from sin through the death and Resurrection of the Savior. This is
the method of interpretation that we are to apply throughout the Bible. Why,
for instance, in the second half of Lent are the Old Testament readings from
Genesis dominated by the figure of Joseph? Why in Holy Week do we read from the
book of Job? Because Joseph and Job are innocent sufferers, and as such they
are types or foreshadowings of Jesus Christ, whose innocent suffering upon the
Cross the Church is at the point of celebrating. It all ties up.
A Biblical Christian is the one who, wherever he
looks, on every page of Scripture, finds everywhere Christ.
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