I've been reading a book "Walking in the dust of Rabbi Jesus" by Lois Tverberg. What an eye-opening mind blowing book. You would say the Bible is supposed to be that book. YES absolutely true! But we read it in a post-modern Western culture context - and totally forget that the Bible is an ancient (yet still very valid for today!) Middle Eastern book. There are 1st century Jewish culture references and idioms used in the Bible which we westerners (and others living in the 21st century) totally look over and don't understand and and and. This book shows some of these things and blows the 2000 years of dust off our minds and open our eyes to see. To make us treasure the Bible as the beautiful, rich, ancient life-changing text that it is.
If I can give one example... Matthew 22:17b- 22. "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, Why put me to the test you hypocrites? Show me a coin for the tax. And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, Whose likeness and inscription is this? They said "Caesar's". The He said to them "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's. When they heard it they marveled. And they left him and went away."
What do we typically think this passage means? Pay the tax that are due and give something to the church or something along this line. But just think... in Whose image are we made. Gen 1:27 is a clue for you. We are made in the image of God. "Give back to God the things that are God's." We were created by God, made in His image, Saved by His amazing Grace. We should give our lives back to God. No wonder the Pharisees left Him and went away.
A 11th century Rabbi said:
The scriptures are like a letter written by a king to a subject whom he loves. But when it arrives, the words have faded and the writing is unclear. Out of love for the king, knowing he's reading the very words written by the kings hand, the subject is happy to decipher it - in fact, he sees the difficulty of the task as proof of his love, strong enough to be put to the test. (Rabbi Bahya Ibn Pakudah)
God is the King who gave us gentile believers His Book. I think it would do us good to read the book in the context it is written. Not do us good really, it will make us to live the way God intended for us to live.
If you can get this book Please do! and you can also follow her blog ourrabbijesus.com for more great insights which will make you to understand some things better. Of course we cannot know and understand everything there is to know this side of eternity, but there is things to learn and apply in our walk with Jesus.