Why the Pharisees Couldn’t Read

“Again in Matthew 21:42 Jesus says to the chief priests and the Pharisees, ‘Have you never read the Scriptures …?’

… Reading, in the mind of Jesus, is not just seeing surface things — like the connection of words and phrases and clauses — but the things implied more deeply by the realities involved. Thus reading is thinking through what is said not just grammatically but — how shall we say it — essentially, or substantially. That is, reading includes asking about the implications of the realities signified …

What we will see is that the problem was not linguistic or grammatical or historical. It was moral and spiritual. What prevented the reading that Jesus expected was not skills they lacked, but sins they loved. The problem was not mental deficiencies, but misplaced desires …

Probably at the top of the list of misplaced desires that blinded the Pharisees to Scripture and to Jesus was the desire for human praise. They loved the glory of man more than the glory of God …

He [Jesus] was full of spiritual truth and beauty. But they could not see it because they had other lovers — like the praise of man and the power of money. This is why they could not see Jesus, and it is why they could not read the Scriptures.

The problem was not that they lacked the light, but that they loved the darkness …

But nothing creates as great a barrier to seeing what is really there in Scripture as a heart that loves other things more than God.”

Reading the Bible Supernaturally, John Piper

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