This post is the result of thoughts that have been running around in my mind for a while. Recently I’ve had some interesting give and take with Rob Martin about some of these ideas as well. Last month Rob shared this article with “10 Commandments or Interpreting Scripture”. Here are the 10 points:
I. You shall not make for yourself an idol out of Scripture.
II. You shall honor the Scriptures as sufficient.III. You shall remember the metanarrative and keep it wholly.
IV. You shall honor the Church as the recipient and the guardian of the Scriptures.V. You shall not neglect the context.
VI. You shall not ask questions the text does not want to answer.VII. You shall embrace both the form and content of Scripture as inspired by God.
VIII. You shall study Scripture for wisdom and not merely knowledge, and never for pride.
IX. You shall exegete your culture and not merely the Scriptures.
X. You shall remember that the simplest interpretation is usually, but not always, correct.
Note, please see the original for his justification. I don’t want to take the space to include all of that here. This does mesh with my thinking relatively well. The more I think about his points, the more I realize that there is a huge tendency to idolize Scripture. Scripture is crucial to living the Christian life, but it is not God. It is one of the primary ways that God reveals himself to us, but it is not God.
The Holy Spirit is God, and He also reveals Truth to us. The problem with idolizing Scripture is that we tend to come to self-serving interpretations and convince ourselves of our accuracy. The Spirit often uses other Christians in community to reveal these mistakes to us. This is the point of the Church. We are a part of the body of Christ, a fact that American individualism and American Exceptionalism/America Worship often makes us forget! Without the body, we do not generally do a great job of living the Bible accurately.
Rob Martin tackles some of this in his blog post from today dealing with the Mennonite Confession of Faith’s statement on Scripture. There must be a role for community to balance what each of us reads personally into the Scripture. I think Rob has a lot for us to think about in his post, which he has given quite a bit of thought.
You will note, of course that I have not said much about how I choose to interpret Scripture, or my thoughts about inerrancy, literalism, etc. This is somewhat intentional. I certainly have some thoughts about this, but don’t have the time right now to develop those. Perhaps another day …