Fighting Fundamentalist

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to Approach the Scriptures (Part 2)

I have spoken of the Soteriological and/or the Christological approach to the Scriptures in the last post; These two are certainly popular and increasing in Christendom they each in there own stride have some strengths. I personally uphold the Doxological approach. Why? I'm glad this question came to your mind, the Doxological approach seeks to understand how Scriptures relate to God’s glory, or putting it another way, it views God’s glory in every text. It is by far the best approach and I aim to defend it here and at every turn. This is not at all in rebellion to my heritage as a former Presbyterian; I do come from a long line going back to the Scottish Reformation, and I have respect for my Presbyterian and Refomed brothers and sisters. Yes we disagree from time to time. My approach is due to the conviction derived from the evidence of objective truth found in the Bible.

The Doxological approach is best because it is not limited to one specific “plan” or “program” or “purpose” and therefore is free to examine every portion of Scripture as it relates to the glory of God and that is the way I think it should be. Not only in areas of Soteriology and Christology but in the wider range of Bible doctrine. God does not have just one program (eg. the salvation of mankind). He is concerned with Israel and also the Gentiles; Salvation and His church; Government and human conduct, morally and relationally, the whole of His creation; visible and invisible. The doxological approach does not strain at a nat then attempt to swallow a camel. It follows a plain or normal hermeneutic (interpretation) consistantly. Let me explain, there are mainly two methods of hermeneutics, and here lies the greatest divide between biblical thinking Christians today. Both start with Sola Scriptura as a premise, but as we will see this is where the two schools of thought end in similarity.

The Allegorical Method
The allegorical method of interpretation produces covenant theology, and visa versa. Desiring to see Christ, or His plan of salvation for mankind, the allegorical interpreter must seek a deeper hidden meaning. I would love to go on a rabbit trail and discuss Origins trichotomy of man theory and how it affects this method, but I will refrain (perhaps another post or as questions and comments dictates) for now. The allegorical method can be found as early as 200 AD from Alexandrian school of thought.

The Plain or Normal (not necessarily literal) Method
The plain or normal (not necessarily literal) method of interpretation produces Dispensational Theology and not the other way around. Each text is unfolded consistently in its plain or normal rendering. Seeking nothing but God’s glory, it too can be found as early as 200 AD from the Antiochene school of thought. This is the Doxological approach!

The later is the best approach because it is Grammatical: considers all the parts of the grammar in each text treated. Historical: considers the historical background of each text treated. Theological: considers the teachings of God in each text treated.

There are four prerequisites for proper interpretation, first you must be saved, second you must depend on the Holy Spirit as your teacher, thirdly you must be teachable, and finally you must be willing to obey. These are prerequisites NOT guarantees. The correct interpretation depends on these requirements with out them… FORGET IT! Even with them it is still possible for one to make mistakes. That’s why we interpret grammatically, historically, and theologically; according to the immediate and wider contexts and in harmony with the whole Bible comparing Scripture with Scripture. There are some difficulties with this approach, but it is the most reliable way to get the best out of ones study in the most important Book, the Bible.

Stay Salty,
brother John


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