This installment on the Trinity and Jesus as God looks at a couple of different, yet similar thoughts. The first would be dealing with Biblicism and how we view scripture through the lens of that system. The second would be how we interpret the biblical writer’s words based on both the context of a passage and the historical perspective the writer uses.
“Biblicism” is a set of principles used, often by evangelicals, to filter the Word of God. Christian Smith, in his book The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture, notes ten factors of Biblicism:
1. Divine Writing: the Bible is identical to God’s own words.
2. Total representation: it is what God wants us to know; all God wants us to know (he quotes JI Packer here) in communicating the divine will to us.
3. Complete coverage: everything relevant to the Christian life is in the Bible.
4. Democratic perspicuity: reasonable humans can read the Bible in his or her language and correctly understand the plain meaning of the text.
5. Commonsense hermeneutic: again, plain meaning; just read it.
6. Solo [not sola] Scripture: we can read the Bible without the aid of creeds or confessions or historical church traditions.
7. Internal harmony: all passages on a given theme mesh together.
8. Universal applicability: the Bible is universally valid for all Christians, wherever and whenever.
9. Inductive method: sit down, read it, and put it together.
10. Handbook model: the Bible is handbook or textbook for the Christian life.
Now I don’t classify myself as a Biblicist but I do think factors four and five resonate with many Christians/evangelicals. With current translations and contemporary study bibles, it’s not a giant leap to think most people can determine the “plain meaning” of the text without the need for classical language skills or a theological degree. Does that mean the reader will be right all the time? No – especially if they bring an agenda or presuppositions to the text. In other words: If they come looking for something particular, don’t be surprised if they find it even if what they find is wrong. Having said that, it should also be noted that even those schooled in the original languages of the Bible may not always be consistent with how they treat the biblical text. It’s been my experience, that consistency is the biggest issue when it comes to using the language of scripture. Not so much the lexicon of words, but how those words are parsed. “Believe” is a good example. I might know that pisteuō means: “to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): – believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.” But knowing how the word is used in the sentence – can be infinitely more important. In John 10:42 the writer says that “Many believed in Him (Jesus) there.” The word is certainly believe, however when we look at the word in its original language, it seems that what the writer is saying is that this belief was then and there; almost as though it were strictly at that point and time. In John 11:26 the same word for “believe” is used; however in this instance it seems to carry a different emphasis. The emphasis is active and appears to be on-going. So you can see the importance of having that bit of information.
Having said all of that, my point is rather simple. Words matter and how the word is used matters. This is a bit more than simply context although that is extremely important. Which leads us to a follow-up regarding the Trinity and the use of kurios (or kyrios) when used with reference to Christ or Jehovah. Since I’m a simple man, I’ll attempt to keep this simple. Because the Greek translation of the OT uses Lord to translate the either YHWH or “God” does not necessarily mean we carry the weight of that into the NT and how the term is always used with reference to Jesus. Let me offer one elementary example:
Luk 5:8-9 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken…”
If Peter’s confession to the Lord (kurios) is an expression on his part that he is a sinful man in the presence of the holy God, then it seems rather odd that “he and all who were with him” seem more “astonished” at the catch of fish than the fact they are in the very presence of God! Does this prove anything? – Perhaps not. However, it should help us be cautious when interpreting the word Lord when attached to Jesus. I should also add there have been extensive studies done on the use of kurios in the NT. Studies at a level beyond both my access and comprehension. Yet they are out there and noted in a couple of Ben’s comments in previous posts. Furthermore, it is precisely because those resources are beyond both my access and comprehension that I have chosen to look at this topic from a fundamental perspective. I strongly believe the understanding of foundational doctrines should not be the privy of only the academicians.
 Strong’s Lexicon as shown in the E-Sword Bible Study software
 “…And everyone who is living and believing in Me will never die. (Are) you believing this?”