Worshiping Idols

Greg Beale has turned out yet another masterpiece of biblical theology and intertextual exegesis. In other words, Beale is a master at letting Scripture interpret Scripture. The basic thesis is one of those things where you slap your forehead and say, “Of course, why didn’t I see that in the text long before now?” Stated simply, we become like what we worship. If we worship idols, then our spiritual perception becomes just as useless as the idol’s eyes and ears, which cannot see or hear. If we worship God in Spirit and in truth, we become more and more like Him.

Beale starts from Isaiah 6, where the language of verses 9-10 (which, incidentally, are more quoted in the New Testament than any other passage in the entire Old Testament) especially prove his point. This he uses as a sort of template to see the rest of the Bible. It has been remarked by someone that Psalm 115:4-7 is even more explicit, and should have been used for the basic thesis. Perhaps. But since Beale’s purpose is letting Scripture interpret Scripture, Isaiah 6 points in many more directions than Psalm 115. I can therefore see why Beale would choose that passage. Ultimately, of course, both passages more than prove Beale’s thesis all by themselves.

However, we are treated to a trip through the Bible, showing where this theme pops out at us. It is quite surprising, really, how many places in the Bible where this theme comes out. And he ends the book on a very practical note: so what? What difference does it make? It obviously makes a great deal of difference. Worship the one and only true God!

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