What Bible Interpretation and the American Government Have in Common- Episode 22
The Better Bible Reading Podcast With Kevin Morris
What is Bible Interpretation? More importantly, what does Bible interpretation have to do with the American Government of all things? It all comes down to meaning and truth. In episode 22 of the Better Bible Reading Podcast, I talk about the vast parallel between interpreters of the Bible and the Constitution. This episode will help you think about the Bible, politics, God, and the quest for truth in our ever changing culture.
What is Bible Interpretation?
A simple definition of Bible Interpretation: Seeking to find and understand what the Bible means.
In theology, this is called the field of study, known as Hermeneutics. A good example of hermeneutics is found in Luke 24:27.
Note: Presuppositions and worldviews can help or hurt the pursuit of meaning.
The question behind Bible interpretation is normally this: “what does this passage or verse or book mean?”.
This brings up the issue of postmodernism in Bible interpretation
The Constitution and Bible Interpretation
“A living document” interaction with Hebrews 4.
Is meaning found in the reader or the writer?
Example of a letter written to my wife, read by my neighbor
Interpretation is only possible if truth is objective
Otherwise, the Bible is no different from fortune cookies
If truth is objective, then we should utilize all the tools of interpretation (historical background, word studies, translation, and genre) because we care about truth and what God has to say. It is not a matter of nerding out over the Bible.
Even if someone believes the scriptures to be objective in the meaning of the author, this does not remove presuppositions from the reader, such as their own experiences (i.e. biases) that are brought to the text every time it is read.
This stresses the necessity for readers to come to God’s word humbly, in order to have their minds renewed (Romans 12.2) to the truth of scripture. Readers cannot rid themselves of biases, but scripture presents itself as objective standard (2 Tim. 3.16) to bring such biases into conformity to truth day in and day out.
This is yet another example of why study aides are useful: they stem from the understanding that God’s word is objectively true and seek to assist the reader in being sure that biases are not being added to the word, resulting in a distorted meaning from that of the author/Author.
Since the Bible makes objective claims throughout, it must be taken on its own terms, and meaning must be placed within the text itself. In such an approach, readers can discover the meaning with careful reading and help from the aides that God has given his people throughout history.
Next week we will continue our conversation about Bible interpretation by talking about the two major interpretive systems in Christianity: Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.