Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reading the Bible with Scot McKnight (10)

The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible is Scot's excellent new book. For anyone who is interested in getting to know God and the Bible better, this book will be very helpful.

“Why do we not follow the Bible sometimes?” Scot continues in chapter 10 with discernment and the question about why we apply some of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings and not the rest. How do we decide? Surely, not all of the Bible or Jesus’ teachings are gray and there is much that is black and white, including Scot’s examples of murder, spousal abuse, or selling one’s children. Scot’s concern is with areas where discernment is at work. Discernment is not neat and tidy and it can be quite messy to attempt to understand the Bible and how it applies in many situations. Scot mentions a few areas, including divorce and remarriage, cosmology, and the death penalty. He draws no conclusions on these issues, but stresses the importance of adopting and adapting, as he claims the Bible itself does. We are called to learn the plot and enter the story in order to listen to God in the best way possible.


John said...

So essentially McKnight is saying that instead of running away from things that may seem "objectionable" to many (Christians), we should engage and question and allow the Spirit, Scripture, and the opinions of others to guide us along the route to a more living spirituality?

Greg said...

Yes, that's a pretty good summary.
McKnight is calling for serious and careful exegesis, paying attention to what we're actually doing when we read and apply the Word of God - because, in one way or the other, we often read and apply half-wittedly. He wants to help us not to do that.

I think, from my side, I would add the world as an informer that guides along towards living spirituality.

I was pleased to be able to meet with Patrick last week. As we didn't have much time, we got right into a few things. And I hope it wasn't too weighty.

John said...

"The world" in what sense? If you mean our surroundings, the natural order, I agree.

But if you mean the world in the sense of "be in the world, but not of the world", I don't know.

Greg said...


Yes, the natural world, but I assume that culture as "world" also has some positive and negative things to guide us on our way.

A must read is Kevin Vanhoozer editor., Everyday Theology.

What think ye?

John said...

Well, I guess I've always interpreted that passage as "the world" meaning the way the world does things that are not Biblical, of an eternal perspective, or of a Godly perspective. Though I agree that the natural world is an informer, as you would say, and not everything in culture is bad (so I'm not taking a hands-off approach to culture).

Once again, we get into the necessity of being informed informers, and informed learners and created beings, not hands-off insulated beings.

And it seems like you and McKnight are saying that even the bad things of "the world" are useful, because we can respond to those and go a different direction. I agree.

Greg said...

Thanks John. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Les McFall has an interested way to deal with the exception clause in Matthew 19:9. He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall's paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.

Greg said...

More like Christ,
Thanks for your comment and review piece.

Seems to me that the " me epi " most naturally introduces an exception. Perhaps, Mark leaves this out because he thought it obvious.