Editorial: Reading Luke’s Passion Narrative In Light Of The Whole Story -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 16:3 (Fall 2012)
Article: Editorial: Reading Luke’s Passion Narrative In Light Of The Whole Story
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Reading Luke’s Passion Narrative In Light Of The Whole Story

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In addition to his role on the faculty, Dr. Wellum serves as editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received the Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles, as well as the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway, 2012).

Every year SBJT has the privilege of devoting one of its four issues to Lifeway’s January Bible Study portion of Scripture. In some small way, our goal is to help our churches become better Bible readers and teachers of God’s word. We take seriously the admonition of the apostle Paul to the Colossian church: “We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col 1:28, HCSB).

This year’s focus is on that incredibly important and rich portion of Scripture, namely Luke’s portrayal of the passion week of Christ (Luke 19-24). Obviously, given our space limitations, our contributors cannot expound the fullness of these chapters; they can only begin to scratch the surface as various aspects of this wonderful portion of Scripture is reflected upon. Yet, what most of the articles demonstrate is how central to Luke’s Gospel is the narrative flow which culminates in the cross work of our Lord. In other words, it is the death and resurrection of Christ which unites all the diverse elements of the Gospels and as such, contrary to some current scholarly opinion, each Gospel presents our Lord’s cross work as central to the very purpose of his incarnation and entire mission.

Another way of stating this point is to acknowledge that each Gospel, including Luke’s, is made up of many sub-genres, e.g., parables, miracle stories, genealogies, apocalyptic elements; each Gospel includes the teaching of our Lord and describes his ministry and mission; yet each Gospel ultimately culminates in the cross and resurrection. Thus, if one is to grasp the message of the Gospels aright one must first understand who Jesus is and what he has come to do by viewing all of the diverse elements of the Gospels in light of their overall storyline culminating in the cross. What this entails, for example, is that it is illegitimate to interpret individual passages without always asking how they contribute to this overall storyline of

the Gospels. T...

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