Monday, September 17, 2007

Hermeneutics of Appreciative

When I returned to church ten years ago, I decided that if I would ever leave the church again, I wanted to know what I was leaving. So, I became a lay biblical scholar among other things.

I read the Bible from front to back and discovered a thing or two (thousand) along the way. Psalmists wanting enemy children bashed on rocks comes to mind. At that time , I had many doubts about God and so I think it was read with this lens of hermeneutics between me and the written word.

It carried forth into the time I began to lead adult classes at my church. I would go to commentaries and then talk about the meanings of Hebrew and Greek words. Talk about what was happening when the text was written. Talk about the story being told. If memory serves me as I reflect on this, it was this talk that was primary to my lessons. Reflecting on how the story touched my life was low on the priority. How scholars and authors across time had been touched by it was primary. I was in search of knowing what Christianity was about, not yet open to feeling an emotional response.

The above image of the mountain speaks to me as I think of one class which I taught. With concordance in hand I found fifteen passages from the Bible which mentioned a mountain. Each person in the adult class randomly chose a passage and then read it out loud. It was a whirlwind trip from here to there. Fascinating, but there was no time for reflection. They were read to tell the stories in the Bible, not to tell the stories in our hearts. I am looking at this image of a distant mountain seen through weathered rock. The mountain is framed. I am not seeing the full picture or fully experiencing the mountain.


  1. Was in the middle of commenting yesterday, got interrupted, and never did get back. Biblical stories? or the written Word speaking to our heart. I love the analogy with the picture, Wayne. To me, we must give some credit to the culture and times in which the Book is written. Trouble is: in giving such freedom, we then must decide where liberty ends and therein lies the task. How can I define that for you? For me? It must come down to a walk with Him and His rein upon our heart, a "working out" our own salvation; and most of us have a hard time giving that to the other guy...

  2. Jim- thanks for your thoughts, it has been interesting writing this paper about my life with the Bible.


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