Saturday, March 11, 2017
Good Biblical Interpretation
Let it be said at the outset … that the aim of good interpretation is not uniqueness; one is not trying to discover what no one else has seen before. Interpretation that aims at, or thrives on, uniqueness can usually be attributed to pride (an attempt to “out clever” the rest of the world), a false understanding of spirituality (wherein the Bible is full of deep truths waiting to be mined by the spiritually sensitive person with special insight), or vested interests (the need to support a theological bias, especially in dealing with texts that seem to go against that bias). Unique interpretations are usually wrong. This is not to say that understanding of a text may not often seem unique to someone who hears it for the first time. But it is to say that uniqueness is not the aim of our task. The aim of good interpretation is simple: to get at the “plain meaning of the text.” And the most important ingredient one brings to that task is enlightened common sense. The test of good interpretation is that it makes good sense of the text. Correct interpretation, therefore, brings relief to the mind as well as a prick or prod to the heart.
Gordon Fee, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pgs.13-14