The old models of exegesis--coded messages that are uncovered and interpreted by exegetes using grammar, allegory, typology, etc.,--are attempts to house train God, to make his self revelation in Jesus conform to a pattern that is comfortable for men. But is it reasonable that we should expect this of God? Enns' answer, if I may extend his logic somewhat, is or should be, No. We should expect, rather, that revelation should be "somewhat messy." For the reason that reality, and above all human life, is "somewhat messy." Enns, of course, is following his Protestant (Judaizing--h/t Spengler) model of revelation, by which God "speaks to man through Scripture," but he realizes that that is not the whole story. Not by half. For, "in much the same way: he enters into our world and uses our own cultural patterns to reveal himself." Here, unfortunately, Enns is still trapped within the notion of God's self revelation in Jesus having been accomplished through a collection of books that we call the New Testament, rather than in the very personal reality of Jesus of Nazareth. For the Christian, Jesus IS revelation, and all else, including Scripture, can only be "revelation" in a secondary sense. This must be the beginning of exegesis. And as a start we must seek to determine Jesus' own understanding of how to deal with "scripture."
We are now in a position to follow up on the project we defined as central to development of a theory of revelation: What was Jesus' own understanding of “scripture?” To answer that question we will look at how Jesus made use of the Israelite scriptures. That is, we will examine how the Gospels portray Jesus' use of those scriptures when speaking in his own voice, as opposed to how the evangelists use the Israelite scriptures when reflecting on the meaning of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.
It has become something of a truism to state that the early Christian writings we now know as the New Testament reflect the “theologies” of their authors. Some would, in fact, argue that that is all we have--that it is impossible to separate out a “theology of Jesus” as distinct from that of the early Christian authors or to distinguish the original words that Jesus spoke from the theologizing of the evangelists. While we do not minimize the difficulties involved and do not claim that a completely definitive account can be given, our reading of the Gospels convinces us that the distinction between the “theologies” of Jesus and of the evangelists is both valid and significant. Moreover, we are convinced that differing approaches to the use of the Israelite scriptures lies at the heart of that distinction. Thus, this undertaking will shed light on the "original voice" of Jesus.