Posts Tagged interpretation
On Tuesday mornings, there is a ladies’ Bible study that meets in the teen center – right next to my office. Most Tuesdays, I don’t get into my office until later in the day, but this week I was there because I had a hospital visit that got pushed up. I had a chance to listen to the ladies reading part of the book of Esther, and they started to act out the text with different ladies playing different characters. They did voices, some of which made them laugh.
Whether they knew it or not, the ladies were reading the text exactly as it was intended to be read – playing out with characters and interaction. As I was pouring my coffee, it made think about the idea of literal readings of the Scriptures and the video from N.T. Wright that I posted earlier this week.
How do you read a book like Esther that was intentionally written to be a dramatic presentation? Some people read this kind of book as history, and others dismiss them as fanciful concoctions.
Remembering that we need to read the Scriptures as they were intended and not as we intend them, we must carefully consider Esther’s content and intent.
So, for all your Bible students out there, use the comments below or an article on your own blog to argue for whatever view you hold to.
Joel runs in what most would consider a more liberal, more mainline doctrinal discussion than I do, although more often than not we can find common ground on most subjects. That’s one of the great things about having a network of bloggers to interact with on doctrinal and exegetical grounds. The diversity of opinion and position helps us look at our own views and the views of others more carefully.
Anyway, Joel’s blog is considerably busier than mine, and he has a number of contributors who write posts for him. He probably gets as many hits in an afternoon as I do in a month.
This week, one of his contributors, Leslie Keeney, wrote an excellent piece on the false interpretations that arise from reading the Scriptures as if they are all about your personal relationship with God. It resonated with something I am working on concerning the church, and I thought you might benefit from it.
Here’s an excerpt:
Suddenly, it dawned on me that one of the benefits of reading the Bible primarily as a narrative is that it automatically reduces the self-centeredness inherent in the “instruction manual” metaphor. If the Bible is God’s story, then the purpose of reading it is to become intimate with God and how He works, not how He can fix my life. No longer does every passage have to have a “practical” application that I can “use.” If the Bible is a story about God, it is not all about me. (Why It’s Not All About Me or You, Leslie Keeney)
Like I said, Joel and I don’t always see eye-to-eye so this is not a wholesale recommendation of everything on his blog; but I thought this was insightful.