Products>Reading Scripture with the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation

Reading Scripture with the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation


Reading Scripture with the Church is the result of years of debate and discussion among four leading scholars of biblical interpretation. In this volume, ideal as a supplementary hermeneutics textbook, each of the four contributors offers insights on his particular theory of theological interpretation of Scripture.

A. K. M. Adam suggests that interpreters break free from the constraining effects of approaching interpretation as translation, embrace the abundance of meaning in Scripture, and envision biblical theology as “signifying practice.” Stephen Fowl interacts with Thomas Aquinas’ interpretive practice and advocates a model of “bounded plurality” of meaning in the “literal sense” of Scripture that should inform our hermeneutical judgments. Kevin Vanhoozer describes a method of theological interpretation based on viewing the Bible as God’s communicative action, given with a certain intention and given to elicit a certain response from the reader. Francis Watson adopts the single identity of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the four Gospels, as a hermeneutical model describing the possibility and limits of plurality in interpretation.

Each author also responds to the other three. Points of agreement are affirmed, and disagreement clarified. The goal is to lead students to embrace the task of theological interpretation with energy, caution, and precision.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Reading Scripture with the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about interpreting the Bible.

Key Features

  • Offers reflections on the theological interpretation of Scripture
  • Provides arguments for and against the various theories presented
  • Includes premodern, modern, and postmodern perspectives


  • Part 1: Essays
    • Poaching on Zion: Biblical Theology as Signifying Practice
    • The Importance of a Multivoiced Literal Sense of Scripture: The Example of Thomas Aquinas
    • Imprisoned or Free? Text, Status, and Theological Interpretation in the Master/Slave Discourse of Philemon
    • Are There Still Four Gospels? A Study in Theological Hermeneutics
  • Part 2: Responses
    • Authors, Readers, Hermeneutics
    • Further Thoughts on Theological Interpretation
    • Four Theological Faces of Biblical Interpretation
    • Toward a Resolution Yet to Be Revealed

Praise for the Print Edition

These elegant scholarly essays by four of the leading advocates for theological interpretation of Scripture in the church are a splendid intervention in current debates about the nature, settings, and ends of biblical interpretation and deserve to be pondered by all who are interested in the place of Scripture in church and theology.

John Webster, chair of systematic theology, University of Aberdeen

The four interactive essays in this book are an important step in the effort to move biblical interpretation forward. The authors invite us to move from an excessive reliance on particular historical methods to an integration of these with the theological practices and insights of God’s people from the past and present. The book signals an ecumenical optimism springing from what has already been achieved and points out ways to bring about a deeper joy in ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures’ and a closer union with the center of unity, Jesus Christ, who is still, in the power of the Holy Spirit, making himself known in and through his church.

Francis Martin, professor of sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

The significance of this project is its juxtaposition of contributions from four major voices in recent theological hermeneutics. . . . Reading Scripture with the Church thus provides a handy entry-point into . . . what is now an expanding conversation around theological hermeneutics of Christian Scripture.

Review of Biblical Literature

Four scholars, two from New Testament studies and two from theology itself, have each contributed an essay addressing some aspect of the theological interpretation of the Bible. . . . The authors’ closing responses invite the reader into the dialogue that has engaged these theologians for several years. Both biblical scholars and theologians will find this book of interest.

Bible Today

The essays and responses in this volume bear witness to what is an encouraging renewal of an approach to the Bible that has much significance for church life and may restore balance in academic biblical study. The four authors are good representatives of this development. . . . All the essays and responses are thoughtful and stimulating.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Product Details

  • Title: Reading Scripture with the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation
  • Authors: A. K. M. Adam, Stephen E. Fowl, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 160

About the Authors

A. K. M. Adam is a lecturer in New Testament studies at the University of Glasgow.

Stephen E. Fowl is a professor of New Testament at Loyola University Maryland.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer is Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author or editor of many books, including Everyday Theology, Is There a Meaning in This Text?, and the award-winning Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible.

Francis Watson is a professor in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.