Saturday, March 04, 2006

Reading the Bible II: Reading and Submission

Acquiring literary competency with Scripture should make us suspicious of our interpretations. The “hermeneutic of suspicion” has become a byword in contemporary biblical scholarship, the chief object of suspicion being the text itself, viewed as a social product. But if we are reading from a confessional perspective – that is, as members of a community that regularly confesses its sins as well as its faith – then it is well to begin by suspecting our own interpretations. Most of them have probably not been reconsidered in a long time – years in our own lives, generations in the church. Whenever we pick up the Bible, read it, put it down, and say, “That’s just what I thought,” we are probably in trouble. The technical term for that kind of reading is “proof-texting.” Using the text to confirm our presuppositions is sinful; it is an act of resistance against God’s fresh speaking to us, an effective denial that the bible is the world of the living God. The only alternative to proof-texting is reading with a few to what the NT calls metanoia, “repentance” – literally, “change of mind.”
Ellen F. Davis, “Teaching the Bible Confessionally in the Church, in The Art of Reading Scripture, edited by Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hays, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.

I've been doing some thinking about what the "authority of scripture" means. I'm going to post some brief thoughts over the next few days, and might have something substative to say about it in a few weeks time.

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Anonymous said...

I like that quote a lot.

(I think I am going to confession today, I don't kno whow to do it...)

Kyle said...

I do heart this book, Mike.

I wish you grace in your confession.