Blinded by Scripture

The young Jesus before the elders at the temple.
Jesus Before the Elders (graphite pencil on paper, by David Hayward)

I’ve always loved this story. So I drew my vision of it.

I wanted to depict the childlike innocence of the boy Jesus standing before the austere elders. The scripture is being intently studied to check his accuracy. But I wanted the scriptures to actually blind the elders to Jesus who is standing right before them. Jesus seems to be casting light, but the scripture is blocking their vision and throwing them into the shadows of darkness and ultimately ignorance.

Being blinded by scripture is a common theme in the scriptures. The bible is one of the most self-deprecating books on the planet, in my opinion.

Are we in danger of blinding ourselves to the spirit of Christ in all things by restricting ourselves to our narrow understanding of scripture? Are we too in danger of throwing ourselves into the shadows of darkness with our austerity?

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7 Replies to “Blinded by Scripture”

  1. The Scriptures bear witness to Him.

    If you take Christ out of the Scriptures, then what are you left with?

    (instructions for assembling a lawnmower)

  2. This is an interesting hermeneutical take on one of my favourite stories. I’ve never experienced the elders as austere like this. Teaching children about the Scriptures was a revered calling, unlike today when it is given to people with no support or confidence from the church.

    I suspect the elders were not aware of who Jesus was, but must have been amazed. Why else let him into their circle?

  3. “Are we in danger of blinding ourselves to the spirit of Christ in all things by restricting ourselves to our narrow understanding of scripture? Are we too in danger of throwing ourselves into the shadows of darkness with our austerity?”

    YES!

  4. Aren’t they blocking Christ here Steve? But not from with…. Think about it the reality IS CHRIST.

  5. “Being blinded by scripture is a common theme in the scriptures. The bible is one of the most self-deprecating books on the planet, in my opinion.”

    Thank you!

    In my humble, limited personal opinion, I agree with you.

    OT: Here’s a written law… watch it (and you) fail completely.
    Jesus: You’ve let the letter of the law corrupt you.
    Paul: Thank heaven we don’t need one of those foolish things anymore.
    Not-so-early-anymore church: Here, look at this. Let’s make this a written law!
    Me: *face-plant*

    Just how it appears to me personally sometimes.

  6. I have absolutely never thought about the idea that “being blinded by
    Scripture is a common theme in the Scriptures” … Or that Scripture is actually self-deprecating. Amazing.

    “you search the Scriptures because you think in them you will find eternal life. But the Scriptures testify of Me, and you refuse to come to Me.”. (paraphrase.)

  7. Hi, you have presented an interesting idea. But wrong I think. The elders are not blinded by scripture, they are blind to scripture. Christ came to fulfill the law, ultimately the scriptures point to Christ, show the hopelessness of life without Him. The problem with these elders are a narrow minded view of scripture, but the issue is in their stubborness, not in the scriptures. It is through Jesus that we can truly understand the scriptures, in the NT we hear about him explaining the scriptures and the teachers were amazed by his knowledge. Two major problems are, 1,a focus on scripture without Christ, 2,a focus on Christ without Scripture. The way I see it, Christ, “The Word” in flesh, and the scriptures, go hand in hand.

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