There are a fair few questions one could ask of scripture that requires the investment of time and study to answer. Sure, you could probably use Wikipedia, but where’s the fun in that? Questions are fun. They help you flesh out ideas, theological or otherwise. They help you understand concepts and make connections in a way that helps the answer fuse itself into your brain, because after all the hard work you put into discovering the solution, you’ve got it.
The questions we have of scripture are incalculable. Questions like “what is the significance of the doctrine of the Trinity?” or “what did Christ intend the Lord’s Supper to be?” are answered differently depending on your doctrine. Those differences are an unfortunate reality and illustrate the fractured nature of the Church. Even topics that aren’t nearly as academic, such as worship styling, are subjective where we have to resort to conjecture rather than objective biblical truth. So does the presence of subjective doctrine detract from the veracity of scripture? No, I don’t think it does. The reason I don’t is because for all of our questions we have of scripture, the ones asked of us are much more important.
The question that defines how we approach every other word of scripture, every epistle, every psalm, every narrative, and every instance of grace and love from Genesis to Revelation comes from the book of Mark, where Jesus asks the disciples that important question, “who do you say I am?” It was Peter who answered, and it makes me wonder, (of course I’m throwing in some conjecture here,) if as Jesus was looking at his disciples, he fixed his gaze at Peter when he asked that simple question, “who do you say I am?”
“You are the Messiah.”
Jesus was awesome at asking questions, and largely for the same reasons I mentioned before. They were usually simple, always thoughtful, and you were forced to come up with an answer and say it out loud so everyone could hear. He was great at putting people on the spot in such a way that would make most of us cringe. But though the one in Mark is such a simple question, with the answer Peter gives, the implications are enormous. Or at least they should be. If we answer Jesus’ question the same way Peter does, there is a significant follow-up question lingers that we must also answer, but oftentimes it is skipped over on the way to the pot luck: “what now?”
What now, indeed.
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”