All too often, problems of biblical hermeneutics are so closely tied to technical biblical study that it’s difficult to see their relationship to day-to-day issues confronting the church. Here, eight international scholars from seven countries demonstrate the vital relevance of hermeneutics to everyday church life and ministry. The writers focus on the biblical doctrine of the church and how the church carries out its mission in various cultures.
Originally presented as lectures at Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, these essays have been revised in light of the discussion and criticism that followed. They include careful biblical analyses of the nature of the church, its opponents, and of such modern concerns as social justice and liberation theology. The result is a stimulating reassessment of the role that Scripture plays in bringing Christ to persons within their cultural contexts.
For more by D.A. Carson, see Wipf & Stock D.A. Carson Collection (5 vols.).
“So the phrase ‘the kingdom of God’ is telling us something about God (the fact that he reigns), not describing something called ‘the kingdom’.” (Page 32)
“Two things will help us to escape from these traps. First, we badly need to listen to one another, especially when we least like what we hear; and second, we need to embark, personally and ecclesiastically, on systematic studies of Scripture that force us to confront the entire spectrum of biblical truth, what Paul calls ‘the whole counsel of God’.” (Page 23)
“If ‘pre-understanding’ refers to the mental baggage, the ‘functional non-negotiables’ that one brings to the text, Christians will happily recognize the problem and learn a little humility in their exegesis. They will insist that their ‘non-negotiables’ function this way only until further insight into the teaching of Scripture forces them to change. In this way the Scripture can retain meaningful authority in the believer’s life. But if ‘pre-understanding’ comes to mean something like ‘immutable nonnegotiables’,a function of an entire world view at odds with Scripture, then Scripture can never enjoy the right to call such ‘pre-understanding’ into question.” (Pages 12–13)
“One danger of the current hermeneutical debate is that hermeneutics may mire itself in introspection: it begins to overlook the fact that, from the perspective of Christian theology, hermeneutics, however defined, is not an end in itself, but a means to the end.” (Page 11)
“If it simply refers to the fact that God has revealed certain truth that is objectively true in every culture, it is not offensive; but if there is an attempt to distinguish among parts of the Bible, for instance, according to whether this snippet or that is supracultural or culture-bound, then the attempt is fundamentally misguided and the pursuit of the supracultural an impossible undertaking. The point I am making is that every truth from God comes to us in cultural guise: even the language used16 and the symbols adopted are cultural expressions. No human being living in time and speaking any language can ever be entirely culture-free about anything.” (Page 19)
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