Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Text

We talked a bit about narrative yesterday in Hermeneutics. My professor takes kind of a minority view when it comes to how we should approach the text. Many would say that we need to get into the situation as completely as we can. For example, as Jeremiah was giving his speech from the temple steps we need to think about what that was like, what looks the people had on their faces, the weather, etc. Randy doesn't take that view.

He keeps emphasizing that the text is what we have and we know that it is inspired. God gave us what we need to know. We don't need to go to uninspired sources to interpret an inspired text except to understand the usage of language.

This has some implications for how we read narrative. We don't need to think of the text as a window that we need to stick our heads through in order to see the "real" picture behind it. Instead, we should look as intently at the text as we can since that is what God wants for us to know. John 21:25 bears this out as well.

In other words, as we read the gospels one of our questions should certainly be to ask what did Jesus mean when He said something. However, we must also ask what did Matthew (or Mark, Luke, or John) mean when he chose to put this in the book. The authors were trying to make theological points after all. Of course, they were inspired as they did this.

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