Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reading Scripture in Context

"When we study God's word, over time we realize that the intent of the author may be different from what we intuitively understand in a contemporary context. The more we learn about the ancient Near East, the more we are confronted with the perspective of the original audience. We learn to reflect on how God spoke to a specific people in a specific time according to their understanding and presuppositions, with their language, culture, and history in view. We come to understand that we cannot hear the Word from the perspective of the original audience if we don't explore their world--or at least have someone share that world with us. It takes work to find out the original context of a document that is thousands of years old. And then, when we do get a glimpse into the original setting, we start to see the literature and the world as the ancient audience would have. Even then, sometimes we still do not have enough information about the original context to assert a particular interpretation dogmatically."

Jonny V. Miller and John M. Soden, In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publicaitons, 2012), 68

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