We are in a new chapter of Dei Verbum called “The New Testament”. What follows are some of my thoughts and then a look at paragraph 17.
Some events last forever. Mount Sinai has been remembered and celebrated for millennia but who, other than historians and those who live in Texas, really remembers and celebrates the Alamo? It is the same thing with writing. The stories of Shakespeare are still in our cultural memory but how many plays, books, and poems that were once celebrated and predicted to be icons of our culture were never to be heard of again?
Shakespearean lines permeate our sub consciousness. Some lines invoke certain plays everyone knows. “To be or not be? That is the question.” So many of his phrases are so much a part of our everyday language we do not even know we owe Shakespeare for them:
Too much of a good thing
Mum’s the word
(Just to name a few)
It is much the same with Scripture. Certain lines evoke scenes from the life of Christ. “Truth? What is truth?” And our language is so permeated with Biblical references that even those who don’t know Christ use them. For example:
A broken heart
A drop in the bucket
A sign of the times
A thorn in the side
The New Testament is a seminal work. (I bet God is glad I approve.) It changed everything. It took culture in an entirely new direction. Shakespeare named our culture well, Scripture formed it. For those “with ears to hear” it is the revelation of things once hidden. It is unveiling of who God is though his life, death, and resurrection, His ascension and sending of His Holy Spirit to complete His work of drawing all people together into unity and pointing them toward their heavenly Father.
This was entirely novel. Things were revealed that were never known before. We have the opportunity to know truths that were not able to be known by those before this time nor by those whose hearts are not open to it. “The writings of the New Testament stand as a perpetual and divine witness to these realities.”