Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"The Bible is not a personal love letter from God"

Peter at Stronger Church has followed up his earlier post on poor expository sermons with this one explaining why expository lessons disconnected from the original meaning of the biblical text are a problem:

There are a number of reasons why this kind of interpretation/application of a passage is problematic. . . but let me note one thing in particular that we need to keep in mind when we preach or teach: We model how to read the Bible to our people.

If this is the approach we use for a text, what are we teaching them? We are modeling a highly suspect subjective approach to Scripture that makes "what I think it says" or "what it says to me" or even the highly pious-sounding but still dubious "what the Spirit led me to think" the authority rather than the text itself. How can we encourage our people to deal with the objective truth of Scripture when we model subjectivity?

More than a modernistic view of objective truth is at stake in our interpretation, however. As Peter explains, the Bible was given for the church and for the world, not for isolated individuals.

Despite what our "every promise in the book is mine" individual-American mind thinks, the Bible is not a personal love letter from God. It is a book written to a community, teaching the same thing to every individual of the community. Certainly there are applications to a passage that strike us differently, but let's realize that what we are reading is already the product of the Holy Spirit. Frankly there is enough there to hold us accountable and guide our lives and thinking without having to bend the meaning of the text to "get something personal" out of it.



Blogger John Schroeder said...

Thanks Milt. Posted on this here

7:53 AM, June 15, 2005  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Cool. Appreciate your continuing the conversation. Peace.

5:03 PM, June 15, 2005  

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