I should note the exegetical method I use when reading scripture. This is based on what I consider the Gospel of Jesus, and I use it as an old-time farmer used a candle to check if an egg is OK. I also should note, that my wife, Rev. Cherie, Marckx, shared in the thought processes and writing of this posting.
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS
Copyright Rev. Hilary F. Marckx, Ph. D. all rights reserved
The Gospel (Luke 4:18) of Jesus Is Found in The Life, Death & Resurrection of Jesus—
How He Walked His Talk
LIBERATING–(Ephesians 4:7-8, Colossians 2:8-10)
It does not enslave people, it will never demand we give up our freewill to any spiritual leader,
or any government, and it introduces an eternal Jubilee Year that perpetually sets all captives free;
HEALING–(Matthew 13:15, Luke 6:17)
It is neither harmful nor wounding, but comforts and is life-giving and re-creating; in this gospel we can be truly safe. It will not hurt us and tell us it is for our own good. It enables us to live into the truth by which we were created; if there is a Balm in Gilead, it is applied from the Gospel of Jesus;
SAVING–(Matthew 1:21, Luke 19:10)
This Gospel of Jesus extricates us from our own doom, and our personal hells, if we will allow it to do so. It does not jeopardize or risk our well being, or ever demand that we live in fear or dread;
It is not a legalistic, controlling, rule of law. It will not fetter our spirits, or stifle our creativity. It assumes each of us is created with God’s own loving, creative Spirit within us. It leads us out of darkness, and it celebrates healthy human relationships by not defining who may or may not live in loving relationship;
FULL OF ABUNDANT LIFE–(John 10:10)
It does not give entitlement to only a few, or give some the right to hoard more than their share; all are invited to God’s banquet. The Gospel of Jesus will never demand we become less as a person so others can become more. Within this framework, there is no 99% vs. 1%, no Wall Street outrages, no stinginess–there is only enough in abundance for all, and surely no corporate protections — religious, economic, or political — are given value over basic individual human rights;
FORGIVING–(Matthew 6:14, 7:1-5, Mark 2:1-12)
The Gospel of Jesus the Christ is truly Good News because it does not condemn us to unending misery and the sorrow of separation from God, but instead lifts us up into a communion of eternal goodness and joy with the one who shares love with us regardless of our choices.
My suggestion is that when you read the Bible you use this method to discover if the text you are reading proclaims Jesus’ Gospel, or simply is the invention of some person. No one has done more creative writing than the writers of Christian Scripture, and it is sometimes difficult to discern between the words and the Word. This simple model for exegesis helps Bible readers and Gospel seekers to discover, if not the actual words of Jesus, then Jesus’ intentions.