Theological Interpretation Article in Christianity Today

I’ve had a thing or two to say about theological interpretation on ye’ old blog over the past couple of years. I am a theological interpreter of scripture, and strive to be a Christian reader of scripture, at that. So in general I resonate with, and am happy for, a movement that strives to carve out respectable space for so engaging the Bible in both the academy and the church.

This month’s Christianity Today has a cover story on theological interpretation by J. Todd Billings. It is not yet available online, but read it when you can if you would like a nice overview of what theological interpretation is up to.

The article echoes commonly stated needs of the church: to have a Bible that speaks to it as a word for people who are devoted to loving and following the Lord and God about whom the text speaks.

It also indicates that one of the more important ways forward is to read using the rule of faith.

As usual, I find the former element more important and compelling than the latter, as I continue to find myself scratching my head about what someone committed to the Rule of Faith is supposed to “do,” what kind of identity it forms, and why Christological readings should be transformed into Trinitarian readings. But then again, you’ve heard all that from me before!

This article really is a judicious piece, a welcome and accessible introduction to what is happening in the world of theological interpretation of scripture and provides some sense of why it is important.

6 thoughts on “Theological Interpretation Article in Christianity Today”

  1. I would HIGHLY recommend Billings’ book, The Word of God For the People of God. I haven’t seen the CT piece yet, but the book is probably the best introduction to theological interpretation of Scripture I’ve read.

    1. Formally, it’s a statement of what Christians believe (most often put, “have always believed”) that serves as a measure for faithful biblical interpretation.

      Content wise, it tends to be something akin to the early creeds: God as creator, Jesus as born of virgin, died, raised, etc.

          1. On the one hand, I get it. We’ve got certain orthodox beliefs that derive from Scripture. Those who approach Scripture without those orthodox lenses are likely to see the Word askew.

            On the other hand, it feels like approaching the Bible through tradition, which I understand happens inherently anyway, but in this case it’s one particular tradition. In any other field, the greatest advances and innovations often come from an individual or community that addresses a problem from an unexpected angle. Those innovations are still tried and tested for truth and efficacy.

            Further, it strikes me as a high-level brand of eisegesis. We condone the rule of faith, look to the Scriptures… And lo! Our rule has been confirmed.

            I don’t know. Approach the Bible however you like, and let the story itself confirm or deny your reading.

            Also, I say this while basically believing most of our early creeds.

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