Taking a Journey
Understanding scripture is like going on a journey. For it is God’s communication for clarification on who He is, what He is like, and His will is. But there lies a challenge for you and me….it was written in a time and place far from our own. Does it still apply to us here and now? How so? How can we know?
If we go with the “feels right” approach then some scripture will work well for us and other scripture will be disturbing to say the least. We could take an absolute literalist angle, but then serious questions about our ability to live “Biblically” will arise and be met with unsatisfactory answers (like no more blended fabrics in your clothing, or go walk on water to demonstrate your faith). If one decides to take a “purely metaphorical” approach the text could be manipulated to mean such a wide variety of things that it loses its relevance as Holy Scripture, and becomes in reality just an allegorical expression of our own thoughts and emotions.
All is not lost. There is a way to read, and really understand scripture, but like I said before, it is a bit of a journey, and will require some effort on the part of the reader. Grasping God’s Word by Duvall and Hays is an excellent text for honing your skills in reading, interpreting and applying scripture. Here is a very brief summation of the steps they offer:
1. Grasp the Text in Their Town – What did the text mean to the Biblical audience?
2. Measure the Width of the River to Cross –What are the differences between the Biblical audience and us?
3. Cross the Principlizing Bridge –What is the theological principle in this text?
4. Grasping the Text in Our Town –How should individual Christians today apply the theological principle in their lives?
“While the specifics of a particular passage may only apply to the particular situation of the biblical audience, the theological principles revealed in that text are applicable to all of God’s people at all times. The theological principle, therefore, has meaning and application both to the ancient biblical audience and to Christians today.”
Read and Pray: Luke 24:26-28, 31-33, 44-46, John 5:38-40, Romans 15:3-5,
2 Tim 3:14-16