Monday, 27 October 2008

The true context of Scripture

This is one of my favourite quotes:

... classical scriptural interpretation proceeded from a rich and complex sense of Scripture's place and role within the economy of salvation; Scripture functions as a quasi-sacramental instrument of the Holy Spirit, through which the Spirit makes known the mystery of Christ in order to form the church as a sign of his messianic dominion. The church's knowledge of Scripture as inspired has therefore interpretive consequences; it calls for a specific art, or perhaps a concatenation of arts, of faithful reading, exposition, and application by which Christ is glorified and the church built up in its distinctive life and mission. [*]

This links up to my previous call for ontological categories in biblical exegesis.

[*] D.G. Yeago, “The Spirit, the Church, and the Scriptures: Biblical Interpretation and Interpretation Revisited,” in Knowing the Triune God: The Work of the Spirit in the Practices of the Church (ed. J.J. Buckley and D.S. Yeago; Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmanns, 2001) 49-93; here, 51; cited in Stephen Chapman, “Reclaiming Inspiration for the Bible,” 193


Levi said...

love the quote. We had a similar conversation at a Paul conference last week, on how the corporate reading of Scripture as an avenue of deconstructing problematic interpretations within the congregation (as opposed to the method of the interpretation of the leader of the congregation deconstructing the interpretations within the congregation).

Anonymous said...

Hey Phil. I like this quote and, at least at an elementary level, agree with you previous post on ontological categories.But how, given this framework for interpreting scripture, is the church to verify its conclusions? Is there a standard that we can use, when comparing different ontologies, to sift the wheat from the chaff? Thanks. - Doug

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks for you comments. I will respond. I have a backlog of responses to deal with, as you can see in my latest post.

Phil Sumpter said...


I hope you can implement your insights in your church (given that you are a youth worker).


my responses to you are appallingly slow in coming. I appreciate you pushing me like this so please do be patient with me! I trying to balance all my responsiblities and am being forced to de-prioritize my blogging. I've started a response today in my latest post ... I hope to think this through in a bit more detail.