Preparing for our Lenten Bible study at church, I’ve been reading Deuteronomy. It’s the book Jesus quotes three times when he’s tested in the wilderness, and it recounts the 40 years of Israel’s wandering, the thematic template for Jesus’ desert experience and our own Lenten season. In that sense, it’s a good place to start.
But it’s not, in my opinion, for casual reading. Understanding what the authors and editors are doing, and why, is important for understanding any text’s value as Scripture. But Deuteronomy presents objectionable, outrageous material early and often in it’s opening chapters, most notably the recounting of Israel’s conquest of Palestine and the slaughter of every Gentile man, woman, and child.
Christians believe that whatever the Bible is, God is most fully revealed in Jesus himself. We believe that this revelation is present and ongoing; that it’s not confined to the Jesus of Scripture, that we…
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