Monday, March 24, 2008

How Do You Interpret Scripture?

Hermeneutic is a fancy way of saying "method of interpretation". Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation, particularly in literature, theology, philosophy, and any other kind of social science. When it comes to the Bible, everybody has their personal hermeneutic or method of interpretation. The question is: do you know what it is? what influences it? in what way is it inconsistent and consistent? why do you interpret Scriptures they way you do? in what way are you biased?

Scot McKnight has pulled together a nifty assessment to help students of the Scriptures better understand their personal hermeneutic. (I bet if you used the word hermeneutic in Scrabble, you'd be awesome!)

My score was 70 out of 100, which labels me as a progressive.
The progressive is not always progressive. Those who score 66 or more can be seen as leaning toward the progressive side, but the difference between at 66 and 92 is dramatic. Still, the progressive tends to see the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned, and yet most still consider it the Word of God for today. Following a progressive hermeneutic, for the Word to speak in our day, one must interpret what the Bible said in its day and discern its pattern for revelation in order to apply it to our world. The strength, as with the moderate but even more so, is the challenge to examine what the Bible said in its day, and this means the progressives tend to be historians. But the problems for the progressives are predictable: Will the Bible's so-called "plain meaning" be given its due and authoritative force to challenge our world? Or will the Bible be swallowed by a quest to find modern analogies that sometimes minimize what the text clearly says?


Click here to read about the other categories: conservative and moderate.

My heart is to understand Scripture in its context, and then understand how to live that Scripture in our context, our culture. My goal is to seek consistency rather than picking and choosing what I want to adhere to and what I'd prefer not to apply.

Read the article, take the test, let me know what you think.

1 comment:

diannaburt said...

I scored a 59, moderate.
Hmmm.