So often, we think that the Bible is a book yet we forget that the Bible is really a collection of books composed at different times and places.  The context of the Psalms is different from the context of the Book of Revelation.  Even the written form that we possess today is different from the oral traditions passed down from generation to generation.  One of the largest issues in Scripture scholarship over the past hundred years is how to interpret Sacred Scripture.  Some scholars suggest that we must look at the historical and cultural context surrounding the text in order to understand its meaning.  Other scholars say that the form of writing takes precedence and gives clues as to how we should interpret the text. 

I believe these are all valid concerns but I want to make three points.  First, one modern school of interpretation says that Scripture can be reduced to several basic structures of meaning.  What they are saying is that the parable of the Prodigal Son means X and X only.  For instance, the parable means that God always forgives His children.  This school neglects the fact that Scripture has a surplus of meaning.  While certain interpretations are wrong, these inspired texts take on a life of their own and can provide hope to those facing diverse circumstances and so forth.  This problem assumes great significance when applied to Christ.  We might say that Jesus Christ is the messenger from God and this is completely true.  A problem arises if we leave it at that; if Christ is only a messenger then once we have the message the messenger is disregarded as incidental.  Secondly, since Scripture has a surplus of meaning then we must return to the texts say after day to seek deeper meaning.  We can’t say that once we know the story by heart then we know the meaning.  Every word, every detail has great significance and challenges us to wade deeper into the waters of God’s revelation.

Lastly, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard reminded his readers that they should read Scripture as they would a love letter.  Kierkegaard said that if you receive a love letter but did not understand the complete letter you would fulfill those parts that you understood.  He went on to say that if we don’t understand all of God’s revelation this does not excuse us from fulfilling those parts we do understand.  Kierkegaard went on to say that Scripture is like a mirror rather than a statement of objective truth.  It is a mirror because Scripture confronts us and asks us if we are guilty of sin rather than just presenting facts that have no relevance for us.




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