Did Jesus Treat the Scripture the Way a Literalists Treat the Bible?
Literalists claim the Bible is their supreme authority for the way they believe and act. They claim that their actions are parallel with the way Jesus acted in the Bible.
Though there was no such thing as the Bible in Jesus day, there was the the books that Moses wrote. The way Jesus treated the scripture is a far cry from the way the literalists do today. The way Jesus treated the scripture was in a way that literalist religionists are taught not to treat the Bible.
Literalists are taught to stick to what the Bible says and not to go beyond it...Jesus did the opposite.
For instance, unlike literalists, Jesus felt He could "pick and choose" what parts of the Old Testament were valid and which were not.
Religionists are taught in no uncertain terms that the Bible is a package deal. Believing what the Bible says isn't like being on a buffet line where you "pick and choose" what you like. Yet, that's what Jesus did.
For example, in the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew, Jesus is on a mountain speaking to people around him. Several times He quotes something from the Law of Moses and then contrasts what the Law says ("you have heard it said) with a teaching of his own ("but I say to you").
Don't be blinded to what is happening here: Jesus is acting like Moses. He is on a mountain declaring to the people the Word of God. Really the "Sermon on the Mount" isn't a sermon, it is a public declaration that, now that He was here, changes were going to be made.
At some points in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus simply expands on what the scripture said...like murder being more than not just physical but also emotional (anger) and verbal (insults). But Jesus also claims that some parts of the Bible over and done and it's time to head in a new direction.
God told Moses that Israelites were to make solemn oaths to one another as a sort of a binding contract, but Jesus said the true people of God shouldn't make any oaths. "Let your 'Yes, be Yes and your 'No, be no'; anything more than this comes from the evil one."
God told Moses that crimes were punishable by an "eye for an eye" so as to insure the punishment fit the crime but Jesus said to turn the other cheek rather than seek restitution. In doing so, they would be truly following the will of God.
Jesus taught that some of what God said in the Old Testament was inadequate, and real obedience to God mean it was time to move on. If denominational preachers, or teachers taught this about the canonized Bible they would be out of a job.
Jesus read the scripture as a Jew would, not an evangelical or fundamentalist christian does.
As much as this might not need to be said, it does. From observation of the way Jesus read scripture, we conclude that it was Jewish man reading. His creative flare and even his "debating" with scripture and going in a different direction were part of what it meant to read the Holy Writ in Jesus' Jewish world.
That doesn't mean Jesus didn't respect scripture. He did. But He respected it in Jewish ways, not religious ways.
And that may be the hardest lesson for the religious literalists to understand...Jesus did not agree with things in scripture that religious literalists take for granted and considers non-negotiable and stick to what the text means...or should I say, what they believe the text says.
By doing so religion has deafened the ears of believers and they are unable to hear from God for themselves.