The Soundtrack of Scripture…

Ben Schoettel   -  



“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 9-14

Quick question… what year was the first custom ringtone invented?

1996… I know… seems like too early. But that was the year that the Digital Minimo D319 allowed customers in Japan to use the tones of their keypads to create custom songs as their ringtone. It only took eight years (2004) for customized ringtones to become a 4-billion-dollar industry (you’re welcome for the jeopardy facts.) If you missed the trend, it was the perfect way for you to know who was calling you before you answered. “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts playing from your phone? Must be the love of your life (Top love song from 2004 to keep up with our fun facts…) “The Imperial March” (Darth Vader theme song)? That must be my boss calling, better pretend I’m working…

Music tends to set the tone of the environment or inform us of something. Use movie soundtracks as another example. When you hear the sharp string sounds, you know the bad guy must be right over your shoulder. As the music grows louder and fuller you know that there is momentum building in the story. Imagine how confusing it would be to watch a movie with a reversed soundtrack? It would be like reading the Bible with a reversed understanding of Jesus (finally… we got there…)

The “Word” stems from the Greek logos, and when John begins his Gospel citing over and over that this “Word” is in fact Jesus, it doesn’t just set the tone for his Gospel, it gives us the soundtrack for all of scripture. John is not describing Jesus as words on a page, he is describing Jesus as what a word does, it reveals. John is saying that Jesus revealed God to us. When you line that up with how John then declares that this revelation of God was also the Hand of creation mentioned in Genesis, we start to hear the volume increase.

For anyone that has spent any time in the Church, saying that Jesus reveals God, fulfills scripture, and so on, is probably not that revolutionary. The key here, and what I believe John is getting at, is that Jesus is the fulfillment of ALL of scripture. He is not A word when it fits our understandings or traditions, He is THE Word that we are to hear and see when we read the Bible. Jesus’ purpose was not to explain the Bible, the purpose of the Bible is to point us to Jesus. The amazing thing about Jesus, is that the Word of God came in the flesh to reveal grace and truth to us. This belief changes the music from shrieking horrors of a distant God to a beautiful ballad of a God that is with us.

Swiss Theologian Karl Barth has this to say about the amazing grace of the Word (Jesus).

“He exists neither next to man nor merely above him, but rather with him, by him and, most important of all, for him. He is man’s God not only as Lord but also as father, brother, friend… a confirmation and display of his divine essence itself.”

So, intentional focus on Jesus does not minimize or contradict the importance of the rest of Scripture, in fact the opposite is accomplished. When we keep Jesus as the “Word” which reveals God, we are able to experience the stories of scripture with the right tone, the right soundtrack that allows us to truly hear grace and truth from God.

As the “Word”, Jesus is always both the revelation and redemption of God. No religious or cultural principles that we’ve inherited or subscribed to can change who Jesus is (and that’s a good thing.)

In reflection, as we read or hear stories from Scripture, let’s ask ourselves, are we experiencing our story with God with the right soundtrack?