ARE THERE PARTS of the Bible that are more relevant than others? Some Bible readers would say so—what do you think? It’s sometimes claimed that some parts of the Bible present a less pleasant view of God than other parts. The Bible’s critics will allege that the Old Testament—the first part of the Bible which deals with the history of the world before Jesus Christ— presents a harsh and unforgiving God: ‘the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God’ (Deuteronomy 4:24). Whereas in the New Testament, which deals with the life and teaching of Jesus and his followers, we read statements such as ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). On this basis, there are those who prefer to disregard the Old Testament and concentrate on the New. Developing Ideas of God? Did God change? Or was it people’s perception of God? One suggestion which is often made
LOOKING FORWARD in time to the life of Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (Isaiah 9:6–7). Among these majestic titles there are two which sometimes cause confusion. Why is it that Jesus is referred to as ‘Mighty God’ and ‘Everlasting Father’? This passage is often used to support the idea that Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity—that is, he is God.
In his prayer at the Last Supper Jesus said “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do. And now, O Father, glorify me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:4-5). This sounds very much as though Jesus is co-equal and co- eternal with the Father. THIS IS ONE of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. It’s a prayer of the Son to his Father that the love and unity which they have between them may be shared with his disciples. When you read the chapter through, it’s clear that Jesus was sent by his Father, was given his work by his Father, he’s glorified his Father; his Father gave him his disciples… so the first question is, does this really sound like the prayer of one who is