Two of the four gospels mention in their account of the Triumphal Entry that Jesus rode upon a colt “on which no one has ever yet sat” (Mark 11:2; see also Luke 19:29). The colt is a fulfilment of prophecy (Zechariah 9:9), but what’s the significance of a new colt? Perhaps it alludes to Jesus’ divine control over nature, similar to the calming of the storm (Mark 4:35-41). More likely, it calls back to the Old Testament, where only those animals who had never known a yoke were fit for divine service (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3). In calling for this kind of animal, Jesus is asserting the divinity of his mission, and possibly hinting at his coming atonement for sins– he too was to be a sacrifice without blemish.
Psalm 72:9, speaking of the Davidic king, says “May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!” It’s not the only time that God/Israel’s enemies are cursed in this way. Isaiah 49:23 and Micah 7:17 both refer to enemies licking dust, and Isaiah 65:25 tells us that “dust shall be the serpent’s food.”
I’ve written before about how the Old Testament is to be read in light of the New. The Bible isn’t just some book of random stories that can be taken out of context and smushed together in new formations like pieces of an Erector Set. Rather, it’s one story, and it’s parts relate to each other in the ways they were intended by God to do. The task for us is to discern how.
Vern Poythress, in Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God, discusses problems relating to authorship in interpreting the Scripture. Questions of authorial intent are not new, but do seem to be arresting the world of biblical scholarship in the last number of years. Ask a Bible scholar what a passage means, and he will respond by telling you what the author meant when he wrote said passage. This isn’t wrong; in fact, I think it’s a lot better than the cage-match, anarchist approach to interpretation found in some Bible study groups.
I was directed to The Bible Project recently by my friend and mentor Daniel Viezbicke. It’s an attempt by a Bible teacher and a graphic designer to explain the Bible in a simple and unified way, using 5-10 minute animated videos. Their conviction is that “The Bible is a unified narrative that leads to Jesus and has profound wisdom for the modern world.”
Have you ever talked with someone who comes to the conversation with a sort of aural shotgun approach? There doesn’t seem to be an effort on their part to organize their words or subject matter; instead, they just word-vomit, more or less. Often when I have a conversation with someone like this, I feel that this person has just thrown a bunch of puzzle pieces from several different puzzles at me and left me to put it all together.