6.04.2013

Being Humble About Our “New Interpretations”

Some more good stuff from Jonathan Pennington’s Reading the Gospels Wisely on the importance of
studying the history of the interpretation of the biblical text:
“Any time we think we have come up with a new and insightful interpretation, the odds are that someone has already had this insight and expressed it better; conversely, if we do arrive at an entirely new interpretation, then chances are, if none of the tens of thousands of students of Scripture have ever seen things that way, that interpretation may have serious weaknesses and blind spots.”
So basically, if you’re reading Scripture and feel like you’ve come upon a new and brilliant interpretation of a verse or passage that you’ve never heard before, do a little research: most likely someone else has already developed that same interpretation and has done so in a better and more thorough way. And that’s a good thing, because it leads to a deeper understanding of the Bible.

And it’s also possible (though unlikely) that your research will show that you have, indeed, come up with a new interpretation that no one else has ever thought of before. If that’s the case, your new interpretation is most likely flawed.

Either way, I think researching and reading the interpretive views of others is helpful in determining accuracy, and also leads to humility as well. Both are good things.

3 comments:

Mike Raine 6/4/13, 10:13 AM  

Not too sure about a "New Interpretation," but there are times that pieces fit that unlock and enlighten. The more we read and learn the deeper we are able to explore the depth of His revealed Word. Sometime these :new interpretation" I know are not new to the world or those that study His Word, but they may be new to me. Great post Doc.

Mike Raine 6/4/13, 10:16 AM  

Not too sure about a "New Interpretation," but there are times that pieces fit that unlock and enlighten. The more we read and learn the deeper we are able to explore the depth of His revealed Word. Sometime these :new interpretation" I know are not new to the world or those that study His Word, but they may be new to me. Great post Doc.

Luke Dockery 6/7/13, 9:12 AM  

Mike,

Thanks for the comment. I have new-to-me interpretations a lot, but someone else has had them before. As Ecclesiastes puts it, “there's nothing new under the sun.”

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