A Thought On Agenda and Interpretation

This evening has been taken up by some deep reading in the field of hermeneutics. I have been working through Thiselton’s Hermeneutics: An Introduction. The first couple of chapters were a bit challenging, but I am now getting into the flow of his thought. What a ride! He has provoked me too much thought and challenged my own “settled” views on interpretive theory. But the following statement caused me to put the book down and think for a moment. This is what he says:

“…hermeneutics is not an instrumental discipline used supposedly to support theological or Christian doctrinal conclusions at which some have already arrived. We are looking for ‘integrity’ rather than Kant’s ‘autonomy'” (pg. 124)

It has me wondering how often I, rather unconsciously, do this when studying the text. How often do you do this? Ideally, we would want to approach the text of scripture and allow it to say what it has been saying all along or even allow it to speak to our particular context and culture. But we do the text a disservice and do not act with “integrity” when we only go to the Bible to prove a point that we have already settled on. I know I’m guilty of this and sometimes it is hard to differentiate between what I need to “hear” to make me feel better about where I am theologically and what the text is saying.

Just a thought to keep in mind when you study the Bible. We all do this. But it helps tremendously to be aware of it.

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