In light of my previous post, I wanted to share something else that’s been stewing around in my mind.
There is this tension in biblical interpretation where, on one hand, the Bible must be understood within an exploration of the cultural context, philosophical understandings, trends in ancient literature, language, and a number of other things. However, on the other hand, one of the important themes in the Bible is the making of small things into great things, simple things into wise, and poor things into rich.
When I get caught up in an extensive study of ancient languages and literary devices, I can’t help but wonder what this means for someone who hasn’t had the same educational opportunities as I have… not to mention someone who is illiterate. Do they not get to experience the Bible fully? Surely not!
I know that part of the role of the pastor is to be an intermediary between the people and the intellectual approaches to Scripture. I know that as I pastor I will have to synthesize information so that more people will know what I’m talking about. What I don’t understand is what I should tell people with legitimate questions who can’t engage with the Bible like I can because of economic or academic limitations. I want my parishioners to read the Bible on their own… but I don’t want to insist that they read an overview of Greek philosophy so that they can fully capture the essence of the letters of Paul.
With that said, I don’t believe that we can simply throw out scholarly approaches to the Bible. It is important to take many things into consideration when reading the Bible. However, at this point, I just don’t see how to balance that out with universal accessibility. Anyone have any thoughts?