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6.04.2014

"Jesus is understanding" what? That doesn't help me. Bring it down to the practical level.

This is actually the first thing I've ever read that actually gives an enlightening example of what a lot of churchy sounding (and biblical sounding too I must say) language means practically. The language I am talking about is: it's all Jesus; I just want to know Jesus and that is all; Jesus is all wisdom; etc., etc. (and I didn't get at very good examples there, but you can get the gist). So here is John Owen giving a good explanation of it all, or at least one good way of explaining it:

"Whatever notional knowledge men may have of divine truths, as they are doctrinally proposed in the Scripture, yet—if they know them not in their respect unto the person of Christ as the foundation of the counsels of God—if they discern not how they proceed from him, and center in him—they will bring no spiritual, saving light unto their understanding. For all spiritual life and light is in him, and from him alone.
An instance hereof we have in the Jews. They have the Scriptures of the Old Testament, wherein the substance of all divine truth is revealed and expressed; and they are diligent in the study of them; howbeit their minds are not at all illuminated nor irradiated by the truths contained in them, but they live and walk in horrible darkness. And the only reason hereof is, because they know not, because they reject, the relation of them unto Christ—without which they are deprived of all enlightening power."
~John Owen
from The Person of Christ, volume 1 of Works, page 81

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But see that example explained a lot to me what such language like "all understanding is Jesus" and so forth is getting at. I am, especially as a Work person, someone who strives to go to the practical level and get understanding at that level, so much of biblical language and theological language which isn't necessarily at the practical level grates on me (not too strong a word). So basically what Owen is saying is when you see all understanding and so forth in Jesus you are seeing the plan of God itself. Simple. I kind of picked up on this awhile back and wrote about it then, but this passage from Owen brings it out well.

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I think it's this way: the Bible is what it is. It communicates how it communicates. It has to be everything for everybody and is unique in that. But theologians I think have fallen short in many areas in not translating the biblical concepts into more practical language.

For instance: it doesn't help me to tell me, "Jesus is understanding."

OK. Jesus is understanding. I can get multiple lines of meaning from that, but the statement itself is not helpful without further explanation.

So here's the practical explanation: if you are reading history and philosophy and sacred writings, the Bible itself, without knowing the Plan of God which centers on the work and life and death of Jesus Christ then you are ultimately getting no understanding from that history, philosophy, and religious writings. You won't even understand human nature if you don't know why Jesus incarnated as the last Adam because you won't know about original sin and active sin and the image of God and so on.

That is what "Jesus is understanding" means.

And the example of the Jews was a good one. They read the Old Testament but get no understanding from it because they can't, or refuse, to see Jesus and the Plan of God in the Old Testament.

So "Jesus is understanding" goes from being a sort of diaphanous, meaningless bumper sticker to having practical meaning.

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Another example.

Jesus is understanding. (This can also refer to the Word of God because Jesus is the Word of God.)

Example: in the political realm if you think human beings are inherently good and perfectible (you innocently think this) and you try to create a utopia based on this belief, history shows you will descend into tyrannies of the worst kind. Why? Because man is not inherently good and perfectible. Man is inherently sinful.

So, people who have understanding from the Word of God (Jesus is understanding) put together political systems that are designed to put checks and balances on man's inherent sinfulness. and to divide power to further check man's fallen nature. This understanding of human nature and the ways of the world is based on biblical anthropology which is *understanding.*

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1 Cor. 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

This is Paul, after a lifetime of study under the most famous teachers, learning all things of Judaism, probably all the wisdom of the Greeks and Romans and so on, a famously learned man, now saying "I am determined not to know any thing save Jesus Christ and him crucified." I.e. nothing is understanding unless seen through the lens of biblical revelation.

Phil 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

So *Jesus Christ, and him crucified* stands in for *the entire plan of God from one pole of eternity to the other.* And this is learned from biblical revelation.

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