Friday, July 13, 2007
The Theological Interpretation of Scripture
My focus on NT studies has been largely historical and I have only approached theological questions well-after thoroughly engaging the historical horizon of the biblical texts. But what of theological interpretation and its value? I understand theological interpretation to be the model of interpretation that focuses on the ecclesial context in which Scripture was written and its utility for answering the theological questions confronted by its ecclesial readers, ancient and modern, when reading these texts. That means that one consciously approaches the NT not simply as a historical artifact as any other, nor as a source book for creating religious dogma, but as a document created by Christians and for Christians that speaks fundamentally a word from God and about God. A sympathetic reading of Scripture means that faith and theological perspectives can never be divorced from reading and research of the message of the Bible itself. That does not require jettisoning the historical horizon or blanketing them with theological issues, but theological readings are not ancillary to the task of reading Scripture in and for the church.