THE FORCE AND FLOW OF THE PASSAGE
Fundamentalists believe in literal, plenary inspiration of Scripture. I too believe this, but I understand it differently than I used to. The things written in the Bible have a force that flows beyond their literal translation. One doesn’t need expertise in the original languages to see this.
In the parable of the wicked tenants (Mt.21:33-43), Jesus asks the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people, “What will the owner of the vineyard do to those wicked vine dressers when he comes?” (v.40) The force of this question here is more than merely the translation of the words, grammar and syntax. The question comes in the flow of events leading to the moment. These leaders have not approached Jesus in a forthright manner or with honest questions. Their intentions were to discredit Jesus. They were not seeing what He was doing or hearing what He was saying.
The force of what Jesus is asking is “What will the owner be justified in doing?” “What do these vine dressers deserve?” “What does the owner have every right to do to these men?” [These words aren’t there, spelled out in so many letters, but the force of what Jesus is saying is being carried by the flow of occurrences in the passage.] Jesus has brought them to the place where they render moral judgment upon themselves. They understood the question, and answered, “He will destroy them and rightly so, for they deserve nothing less.” (v.41) [They didn’t exactly say this either, but they did mean it this way.] It is parallel to the approach Nathan the prophet used with King David, confronting him with his sins of adultery and murder (2 Sam.12).