One way to go about shaking ourselves from the interpretive grooves (ruts!) formed by our Western assumptions is to encounter a reading of a well-known text that seems shocking at first, until the “new” reading focuses our eyes upon the biblical words themselves.
Can it be both? Must we choose between Vanhoozer’s faith as knowing and Bates’s faith as allegiance? In some respects, perhaps this tension (like many mysteries at the heart of Christianity) is better left unresolved.
What is the relationship between the Bible and theology? Gregory Lee’s Today When You Hear His Voice is a delightful companion on this journey, both in what it gets right and where it exposes where we often go wrong in our use of the Bible.
As the Ethiopian eunuch replied when Philip asked if he understood the portions from Isaiah he was reading, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Such guides include pastors and teachers and spiritual mentors of many kinds, but especially for those of us living in a time and place radically separated from the culture and languages of the Bible, such guides must also include biblical scholars.
This Advent season, Job provides us with a model of how to wait. Let us, too, voice our deepest fears and frustrations to God.
Sometimes our Reformation emphasis on putting the Bible in hands of everyone leads to the false conclusion that the Bible requires no interpretation.