Seeing the Bible through the eyes of the poor


justo gonzalezI read a short article from Dr. Justo Gonzalez last week on reading the book of Luke through Latin American eyes. It really stuck with me – enough so that I wanted to do a quick blog post capturing some of his big ideas.

Dr. Gonzalez contends that we cannot understand the full dimension of the Bible if we don’t learn to see it through the eyes of the poor. I agree with this statement wholeheartedly – that conviction is foundational to the DNA of River City.

Gonzalez has a knack for expressing complicated ideas in pithy sound bytes, and below I’m going to paste a few of my favorite quotes from his piece:

“When you read Luke with poor people who have no hope, or with people hiding from dictators and death patrols, you see things you might not see otherwise.”

“The most important under appreciated theme [in Luke] is what’s often called ‘the great reversal.’ This is the idea, from Luke 13, that when the kingdom of God arrives, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

“Compared to the other gospel writers, Luke takes care to emphasize the word salvation. We tend to overlook the economic, political, and social implications of this salvation. Luke helps us to see what it looks like for the poor.”

“Liberation means freeing people from anything that keeps them from being what God wants them to be. This means sin and condemnation—and it also means poverty, oppression, and violence.”

“In a broad sense, liberation is a synonym for salvation. It is the work of God restoring us to what he meant us to be.”

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4 thoughts on “Seeing the Bible through the eyes of the poor

  1. This is so good. I think I will read Luke differently from now on. In fact, I’ll start with a fresh reading soon. Thank you, Daniel!

  2. I love this Daniel… the perspective of Latin American liberation theology also unpacked the parable of the talents in a very deep and meaningful way for me. It is always interesting that many of my Western evangelical friends give so much push back on this very heart deep perspective…

  3. Ah yes, this is why the concept of true Liberty is so important to grasp! I love that last quote. Many of the early Supreme Court decisions from 19th-century America understood this better than we do today. I feel the understanding of Freedom/Liberty/Salvation is being lost in a generation of people who are far from free – economically, spiritually, legally, etc.

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