Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Obstacles to Faithful Interpretation

I came across this excellent list of obstacles to faithful interpretation of scripture in the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
Various influences from our modern life and culture hinder faithful interpretation of the Bible. These are:

1. A pace of life so fast that we do not take time to study the Bible.

2. Culture and thought so heavily influenced by Western individualism that "private interpretations" become the norm, thus making testing by the community difficult.

3. Final appeal to individual human reason or personal private experience as the judge of truth, hence resisting the role of the community in the interpreting of the Bible.

4. National allegiances and/or concern for material security that makes us unwilling to freely respond to the Bible's call to faithful discipleship.

Reflection: Which of these obstacles most threatens your congregation's faithful interpretation of the Bible? How can these obstacles be overcome?

This presents the main reasons why many Christians don't get their understandings from the Bible (even preachers). Numbers 1 and 4 give me pause today. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, would do well to consider if these obstacles are present in their own walk of faith - and if so, meditate and pray for change.

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