The Nature of Scripture and Revelation

How should scripture be interpreted? Is it all infallible and absolutely true? Is it all literal, or is it all metaphorical? Or is it somewhere in between?

My personal feeling is that scripture is a little bit of all that, but I'm trying to iron it all out, so any input you have is very very welcome.

There's a radio station in the Bay Area (where I live) that has an adverstisement for their home Bible study course, and they say bluntly that scripture should interpret scripture.

I can hang with that. But then they go on to say that, accordingly, we don't need to consider the initial intentions, meanings, cultures, or circumstances surrounding the Bible. Something there sounds a little fishy to me. I don't see the Bible making that claim for itself--though in II Timothy, Paul says that all scripture is indeed profitable for many things. Why, if the Bible is infallible, would we need to make the ADDITIONAL claim ON BEHALF of the Bible that it is indeed infallible--would an infallible book not make that claim for itself?

So how should we, as followers of Jesus, approach scripture? Sometimes, I think I see Jesus revering the scriptures he had, the Law of Moses--like during his wilderness temptations. Other times, though, it seems like he dismisses the Mosaic Law--particularly those scriptures regarding the Sabbath, the purity scriptures, and the scripture on divorce. Lots of people I know like to say that because Jesus was God he could do whatever he wanted in regard to the Word--but if God never changes, why did He change his eternal Word?

And, if we must then conclude that the law is just a temporary expression of an eternal Word, and then apply it to the New Testament canon, we have something of a loose standard for interpreting scripture. So, uh, that's where I'm at--how SHOULD we approach interpreting the Bible?

talmid's picture

On the subject of interpreting scripture with scripture...

I have been intrigued by the work of Jeff Benner at http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/ But my curiosity has taken me in a different direction. His efforts has been to establish the original letter definitions of the ancient Hebrew and to discover the development of the parent child root word system through the investigation of all ancient Semitic languages. Mine have led me to compare his conclusions to the words actually spoken by Elohim in scripture. My presumption is that the Almighty does not make errors in His use or application of language. Consistency in His usage with Dr, Benner's work is therefore a confirmation of sorts.

This effort has proven fruitful in my estimation and has led me to conclude that you can interpret scripture with scripture if you start from a firm foundation. Context is everything...




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