When we read Scripture, we need to ensure that we know and realise that the Scriptures were written in a specific time frame, in specific circumstances, to specific people for a specific purpose. They were not specifically written to us and for us! Indeed the Apostles would not even have contemplated the vast changes of circumstances in culture, tradition, language and technology that we have today.
Therefore we need to be careful in how we approach Scripture to ensure that we are understanding Scripture within the context it is placed. We need to understand that not all Scripture is to be read literally. Much of the poetry and prophetic writings are metaphorical and rhetorical. The ancient stories mythical, historical and theological, and not so much scientifically factual.
We make a major mistake when we approach the beginning and the end of Scripture by reading into our circumstances, without first understanding the purpose, context, and circumstance that it is written.
In Genesis, Moses is not making a case for young or old earth creation theories. His writings are to a specific people, at a specific time, for a specific purpose. Basically he is telling the Israelites their story. He is telling them that they are God’s people. He is telling them not to worship that which is created, rather to worship the creator of all that is created. And in the same vein, John didn’t write the book of Revelation to us, for us, to warn us of our specific and future circumstances. No!! He wrote it to a certain people, in a certain context, in a certain time frame for a specific purpose.
However, in many ways, while the Scriptures were not written to us, they were indirectly written for us. For we are a continuation of God’s people. They tell us our story. They tell us our story of belonging, our story of being and our story of purpose. And for us to know our story of belonging. To know our story of being. And to know our story of purpose. We need to know what was being said to them, why it was said to them, and the context of what was said to them, so that we can truly learn from their story and apply those lessons to our own life.