What are the objectives of this project? There are three goals for this project:
To glorify God by increasing in our ability to interpret, understand, and live in light of His revealed word.
a. Increasing in our ability to properly interpret God's word glorifies Him by allowing us to then understand and apply His word properly. Interpretation is the initial step of going from words on a page to meaning and significance. If the interpretation is wrong, the understanding and application that follow will likely be wrong as well and visa-versa. Unfortunately, we, as the Church, never teach anyone how to read and interpret the Bible. We tell people that they ought to set aside time each day to read the Bible and that the Bible is very important because it is revelation from God (we answer the "what?" and "why?"), but we never talk about how we should interpret the Bible. How do I rightly interpret a book written thousands of years ago by an ex-Egyptian prince wandering in the deserts of Arabia and Mesopotamia? This is a very good question and one that the Church is largely unable to answer. We need to learn what the Bible is supposed to be teaching us, what questions to ask when we come to the Bible, and how to interpret a text as God intended and as glorifies Him. I hope this work interprets scripture accurately, both to arrive at accurate conclusions, but also to set a good model and standard for Biblical interpretation.
b. Increasing in our understanding glorifies God by allowing us to think rightly about Him, what He has done, is doing, and will do. For example, if we do not think of God as the author of aesthetics and beauty, we will not fully appreciate a beautiful statue or majestic view. If we do not think God is faithful to His promises, there is no reason for us to pour ourselves out in His service. What we know and think about God is extremely important.
To be clear, when I refer to "understanding", I am not referring to an understanding of Bible trivia (e.g. How many people made up the people of Israel when they went into Egypt? How many people made up the people of Israel when they left Egypt?). I am referring to an understanding of who God is and what He has done. In other words, understanding the theology that is derived from the text of Scripture.
c. In addition to the two previous points, increasing in our ability to live in light of God's word is essential. If we are to glorify God, we must not only interpret the Bible correctly and understand its meaning; we must also bring our lives into alignment with the truth from that passage of Scripture. Notice that I choose my words carefully here. It is not best to think that we are to apply the Bible to our lives. The Bible claims to be objective truth. If this is true, the Bible is, by definition, applicable, so the question is not "How do I apply the Bible to my life?", but "How can I bring my life into conformity with the truth of the Bible and live well in response to the truths presented in scripture?". Our lives must conform to the Bible and not visa-versa.
To help the Church become more familiar with the entire Bible. For many Christians, the Bible primarily consists of well-trodden paths like Romans, the prison epistles, maybe a select Gospel, and maybe Genesis and Exodus (and how could I forget the Psalms!). Outside of these books, there are a lot of dark, unknown places in the Bible (especially in the Old Testament). Unfortunately, those dark, mysterious places make up the bulk of our Bibles and lay the groundwork for the books we so cherish. Our narrow diet of books is an affront to God's sovereignty in revealing and preserving the books of the Bible we have today. If God considered it important to reveal and preserve the book of Leviticus for us today, don't you think we can learn something from it? We need to keep in mind that 2 Timothy 3:16 applies to the entire Bible.
To help the Church fear, love, and worship God more. Through this study, it is my hope that believers are struck by the attributes and actions of God in such a way that they grow in their relationship with God. Understanding God's holiness in a book like Leviticus should lead us to fear Him. Seeing a plan of redemption established in Genesis chapter three should elicit praise and worship. Seeing the prophecies of all that the Messiah will accomplish in Isaiah should lead us to love God more. It is my hope that this study is fodder, not only for intellectual growth, but also for spiritual growth.