…the teaching of Our Lord [Jesus Christ] Himself, in which there is no imperfection, is not given us in cut-and-dried, fool-proof, systematic fashion…He wrote no book. We have only reported sayings, most of them uttered in answer to questions, shaped by some degree by their context. And when we have collected them all we cannot reduce them to a system.
∞ He preaches but He does not lecture.
∞ He uses paradox, proverb, exaggeration, parable, irony; even…the “wisecrack.”
∞ He utters maxims which, like popular proverbs, if rigorously taken, may seem to contradict one another. His teaching therefore cannot be grasped by the intellect alone, cannot be “got up” as if it were a “subject.” If we try to do that with it, we shall find Him the most elusive of teachers. He hardly ever gave a straight answer to a straight question. He will not be, in the way we want, “pinned down.” The attempt is…like trying to bottle a sunbeam.
It may be indispensible that Our Lord’s teaching, by that elusiveness to our systematizing intellect should demand a response from the whole man..make(s) it so clear that there is no question on learning a subject but of steeping ourselves in a Personality, acquiring a new outlook and temper, breathing a new atmosphere, allowing Him, in His own way, to rebuild in us the defaced image of Himself.
Taken by a literalist, He [Christ] will always prove the most elusive of teachers. Systems cannot keep up with that darting illumination.
No net less wide than a man’s whole heart nor less fine of mesh than love, will hold the sacred Fish.
-CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, pp.112-119