August 7, 2020

Internet Monk Radio Podcast #89

podcast_logo.gifSabbatical information, a web site recommendation and Re-examining “Letting Scripture Interpret Scripture.”

Louisville Institute

Common Sense Media

Theology Unplugged Podcast

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  1. Even though I’ve been in an SBC church for almost 15 years now, I only recently encountered (or at least noticed) the line about Scripture interpreting Scripture. I thought it was one of the stranger things to say I had ever encountered. Scripture, of course, can’t interpret Scripture. The phrase itself seems almost nonsensical to me. It seems to say something, but actually doesn’t. The one reading Scripture or explaining Scripture is always the one who is interpreting. It can be no other way. Until a person engages it, Scripture simply sits there and does nothing at all.

    The context in which I encountered the phrase used it as a cover for the speaker’s desire to pull prooftexts from various parts of scripture to add, explain, or alter the meaning of a text in one part of scripture. Of course, it’s obvious to me at least that the true interpreter is the one deciding which texts to pull from scripture and correlate with any other given text. Even in your example of a conversation between parts of scripture, it’s still the one reading who determines how to enter and understand that conversation.

    Michael, I think you would find this podcast, Search the Scriptures: Understanding the Scriptures through the Church Fathers interesting. Now, she is exhorting Orthodox listeners to spend more time reading and studying Scripture, so some of what she says may sound grating to Protestant ears. But a lot of it is very, very helpful and I think fits very naturally with much of the desire I hear from many Protestants. It also certainly gives a strong picture of the “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” nature of this issue. (It may also be helpful to listen to the podcast in which Presvytera Eugenia Constantinou introduces herself just so you have a better picture of who she is and where she’s coming from.)

    Anyway, I do think the “scripture interpreting scripture” sentiment is very strange. It almost seems to me like it is used in an attempt, not necessarily conscious and deliberate, to manipulate or hide from others (and perhaps even yourself?) that you are actually practicing interpretation of scriptures when you speak. Or perhaps it’s a below-the-surface power game through which one group attempts to privilege their interpretation over another group?