of God Is Living and Active – Hebrews 4:12.
in All the Scriptures
The Long Common
Thread of Christological Interpretation
by Dr. John Yocum
What a difference a century makes when it comes to
interpreting the Bible. A hundred years ago, as G. W. H. Lampe has pointed
out,1 the English reader of the Bible took for granted that the imprecatory
(“cursing”) psalms (e.g., Psalm 58) applied to the enemies of Israel, and
so to those of the Church, and to the spiritual enemies that assail the
individual Christian in temptation. He knew that in the Song of Songs Christ
addressed the Church, wooed her, and made her beautiful by virtue of the
love for her that led him to the Cross. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah
was, of course, Christ himself. These views were shared by most Christians
regardless of denomination.
But now we are told that the imprecatory psalms
are not suitable for Christians, because, in light of Jesus’ command to
love our enemies, they manifest a sub-Christian attitude of vengeance.
And is not the Song of Songs best read as what it most simply appears to
be: an erotic love poem? To spiritualize it is to miss its wholesome, earthy
message. Finally, the Servant Songs of Isaiah do not really speak of Christ,
but of Israel, or perhaps of the prophet himself and his sufferings.
We also now use “study Bibles” in which the Old
Testament is cross-referenced in the New Testament, but New Testament citations
are absent from the Old Testament. We are told, both directly and more
subtly, that it is not quite kosher to find Christ in the Old Testament,
especially where the New Testament does not explicitly apply a particular
passage from the Old Testament to a New Testament reality.
Christ the Cornerstone
The christological interpretation of the Old
Testament, however, is not expendable. It is the foundation of the Christian
attitude to the Bible and the New Testament’s understanding of the Old
Testament. It is the normative, unitive, and uniquely biblical hermeneutic,2
by which the Old and New Testaments are fused into a single book with a
Christological interpretation is normative in
that some form of this species of interpretation has characterized Christian
biblical interpretation since the first century, despite the modern challenge
to this norm by the historical-critical method, first in the academic world,
and recently even on a popular level, as the historical-critical method
Christological interpretation is also unitive
in that it binds together the Old and New Testaments—both of which are
made up of diverse literary material—into a single Bible that can be published
between two covers as something more than an anthology.4
This biblical hermeneutic is also unique in that
there is nothing else like it in all the world of literature.5This is apparent
even to secular literary critics, who often view the Bible in a more sober
and reasonable way than the enlightened purveyors of a pure historical-critical
method. For the Christian, to lose such a reading of the Old Testament
is to lose much of this capacity to have his heart and his perception of
the world shaped by the Word of God spoken to his people in every age.
The New Testament claims a continuity with the
Old. The God of the people of Israel and the God who has made himself known
in Christ are one and the same. Christ is understood in the context of
the revelation of God to his people beginning in the Old Covenant. In 1
Cor. 15:3–5, Paul sets out the basic lines of the tradition handed on to
For I delivered to you as of first importance
what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with
the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then
to the twelve. (RSV)
The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” occurs
twice, in order to underline the assertion that all this is in fulfillment
of the plan of God, his action, and his promise, as set out in the Old
Testament. The same thrust appears in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost,
which centers around Joel 2, Psalm 11 and Psalm 110: Christ’s death and
resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit are a fulfillment of the
promises of the Old Testament.6
Perhaps the most important single presentation
of the Old Testament as a “context of understanding” is Luke 24:44–47,
in which Jesus responds to the disciples’ puzzlement over the events they’ve
Then he said to them, “These are my words which
I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about
me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them,
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day
rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should
be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
It was through the understanding of the Hebrew
Scriptures that the disciples came to understand the person and work of
Christ.7The quotations of the Old Testament are not simply used to back
up a prior understanding—they create understanding. Yet, while the Old
Testament establishes the framework for understanding Christ, Christ is
also the interpretative key to the Old Testament. Leonhard Goppelt sees
Luke 24:27 and 24:45 as, on the one hand, a frame of reference for understanding
Christ in light of the Old Testament, and on the other, an interpretive
key to the Old Testament.8 Paul portrays the Jews as having a veil over
their eyes when they read the Law, “but when a man turns to the Lord, the
veil is removed” (2 Cor. 3:16). To read the Old Testament with understanding
is to read it as fulfilled in Christ. Indeed, Christ himself was present
in the life of the people of Israel, as Paul makes clear:
I want you to know, brethren, that our
fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all
were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same
supernatural food and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank
from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
(1 Cor. 10:1–4)
Biblical Types &
Paul goes on to say that what happened to the
people of Israel was the genuine contemporary action of God, but that those
events are recorded in the Scripture as “warnings” (RSV) or “patterns”
or “types” (tupoi) for us on whom the end of the ages has come. The history
of God’s dealings with men have reached their climax in the age of the
New Covenant. The history of the people of Israel is a pattern for God’s
dealings with the Church of this New Covenant. The Old Testament sets up
a temporal horizon of understanding, a framework of history over which
God rules, and within which his revelation or purpose may be achieved.9
This understanding is found not only in Paul, (“when the time had fully
come, God sent forth his Son. . . .” [Gal. 4:4]), but also in other New
Testament writers. One notices the recurrence in the New Testament of such
phrases as “in these last days” (Heb. 1:1), “it is the last hour” (1 John
This much is apparent even to secular literary
critics. There is broad agreement that the New Testament itself takes a
temporally based interpretative approach to the Old Testament. This approach
is commonly called “typological,” from the Greek word tupos, by which the
New Testament designates people, institutions, and events in the Old Testament
as “types,” or patterns, of realities that are fully revealed in the New
Covenant, as Paul does in 1 Cor. 10:6. (Cf. Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1
Even where this terminology is not insisted upon,
there is still an underlying notion of a temporal progression from the
Old Testament realities to their fulfillment in Christ. Speaking strictly
as a literary critic, Northrop Frye frankly states:
This typological way of reading the Bible is indicated
too often and too explicitly in the New Testament for us to be in any way
in doubt that this is the “right” way of reading it—“right” in the only
sense that criticism can recognize, as the way that conforms to the intentionality
of the book itself and to the conventions it assumes and requires.10
It would seem reasonable, then, if one
accepts the New Testament as authoritative, that one would read the Old
Testament in this typological framework, not only as the “right” way in
the literary-critical sense, but also as the true interpretation of the
history of God’s dealings with his people.
Calvin, an Exemplar
The reading of the Old Testament in christological
perspective was the normative Christian approach up until sometime in the
eighteenth century. Hans Frei has shown in his magisterial work, The Eclipse
of Biblical Narrative, that the era of biblical interpretation preceding
the rise of eighteenth-century rationalism was characterized by a reading
of the whole Bible as a narrative of salvation. This narrative, since it
rendered the world as it actually is, embraced the experience of any age
and any reader. The reader fit his life and his experience into the biblical
narrative, both by typological interpretation and by his manner of life.11
This narrative reading is not all there is to reading the Bible as a Christian,
but the conviction that the Bible tells the true story of the human race,
in which God has personally and decisively intervened, serves as a foundation
for all else.
Frei’s study is important in that it takes John
Calvin (1509–1564) as an exemplar of the precritical tradition. Calvin
is a pivotal figure in the history of biblical interpretation, important
for discerning points of agreement in the precritical approach to the Bible.
He came upon the scene when the humanist renaissance in language and literature
was in full flower, and, in vigorous reaction to the theological teaching
of the Schools, demanded a new approach to the relationship between study
of the Bible and doctrine. He was a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation,
which denied scriptural warrant for the authority of the pope, the sacrament
of confession, and many other doctrines. He stood for a new relationship
between the secular and ecclesiastical powers, based on principles derived
from biblical exegesis. Calvin is thus rightly identified with a radical
change in the order of Christendom and with tumult and reform in Western
Yet, as a biblical exegete, Calvin—Protestant
Reformer, humanist, and standard-bearer for change—is more akin to his
Roman Catholic and Lutheran opponents in outlook and presuppositions than
to the historical critics who emerged later in the Protestant tradition.12
Calvin stands in a broad tradition that holds to the divine authority of
Scripture, which, when interpreted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
reveals the historical plan of God to bring about redemption in Christ,
a plan consummated in the coming of the New Jerusalem, and worked out in
the life of every individual believer. This outlook is evident in his treatment
of Old Testament figures that the New Testament does not explicitly cite
Finding the Voice
This christological mentality allows Calvin to
see Christ throughout the Psalms and to apply the Psalms to New Testament
realities. Calvin applies this principle to one of the Psalter’s starkest
imprecatory psalms in his preface to Psalm 109:
. . . although David here complains of
injuries which he sustained, yet as he was a typical character, everything
that is expressed in the Psalm must properly be applied to Christ, the
Head of the Church, and to all the faithful inasmuch as they are his members;
so that when unjustly treated and tormented by their enemies, they may
apply to God for help, to whom vengeance belongs.33
Similarly, not only are the grace, beauty and virtue
of Solomon, and the riches of his kingdom are described in Psalm 45, but
At the same time, there can be no doubt,
that under this figure the majesty, wealth and extent of Christ’s kingdom
are described and illustrated by appropriate terms, to teach the faithful
that there is no felicity greater or more desirable than to live under
the reign of this king, and to be subject to his government.34
Calvin’s preface to Olivetan’s New Testament is a
striking example of his christocentric attitude to the Scripture. He views
a number of characters as figures of Christ, who are not explicitly so
interpreted in the New Testament—Isaac, Joseph, Jacob, Solomon, Samson.
The whole of the Old Testament is viewed as finding its fulfillment, directly
or indirectly, in Christ:
For, this is eternal life; to know one,
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, whom he has established
as the beginning, the middle and the end of our salvation. He [Christ]
is Isaac, the beloved son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice,
but nevertheless did not succumb to the power of death. He is Jacob, the
watchful shepherd, who has such great care for the sheep which he guards.
He is the good and compassionate brother Joseph, who in his glory was not
ashamed to acknowledge his brothers, however lowly and abject their condition.
He is the great sacrificer and bishop Melchizedek, who has offered an eternal
sacrifice once for all. He is the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing his
law on the tables of our hearts by his Spirit. He is the faithful captain
and guide Joshua, to lead us to the Promised Land. He is the victorious
and noble king David, bringing by his hand all rebellious power to subjection.
He is the magnificent and triumphant king Solomon, governing his kingdom
in peace and prosperity. He is the strong and powerful Samson, who by his
death has overwhelmed all his enemies. . . . This is what we should in
short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the
infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him
from God the Father. If one were to sift through the whole Law and the
Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring
us to him.
Furthermore, Calvin is able to cite an allegory with
The allegory of Ambrose on this passage
is not displeasing to me. Jacob, the younger brother, is blessed under
the person of the elder; the garments which were borrowed from his brother
breathe an odour grateful and pleasant to his father. In the same manner,
we are blessed, as Ambrose teaches, when, in the name of Christ, we enter
the presence of our Heavenly Father: we receive from Him the robe of righteousness,
which, by its odour, procures his favour; in short, we are thus blessed
when we are put in his place.35
Calvin’s typological reading of the Bible has been
vindicated on literary grounds, as Frye demonstrates. But there is more
here. The exhortation above is a manifestation of a religious attitude.
The reader of the Scripture, while attending to the grammatical structure
of the text, the literal meaning of the words, does not function simply
as a human interpreter. As the spiritual man reads the Scripture, the Holy
Spirit moves in his heart so as to render to him the pattern of his dealings
with the world.36 Calvin does not simply read the Bible as a text; he hears
in it a Voice.37 He is convinced that Christ is to be sought in the whole
Bible, and that he who seeks, finds.
of Christ in All the Scriptures
These observations are not meant to demonstrate
that there was a precritical hermeneutic that was wholly unified in its
approach to christological interpretation. There are admittedly differences
in emphasis between Calvin’s approach and the approach that underlies the
“proto-evangelium,” for example. We can, however, see the gulf that divides
even Calvin from the modern historical-critical approach. That gulf separates
those who take a fundamentally christological approach to the Bible, seeing
it as intended by its divine Author to speak to men in every age of Christ,
and those who see christological interpretation as something tacked onto
the text, perhaps with impressive creativity and skill, by the New Testament
authors and by later exegetes.
The implications of a christological approach
to the whole Bible are broad and deep. Its significance may be sketched
out in at least three areas: spirituality, culture, and ecumenism, the
last albeit only briefly.
The importance of a christocentric mentality
for spirituality is especially striking in relation to the Psalms. Scholarly
discussion of the Psalms over the last seventy-five years has centered
on theories concerning their Sitz im Leben (i.e., their original setting
in the life and worship of the Hebrews). This is an important question
insofar as it touches on the history of Israel and its cult and contributes
to an intelligent reading of the Old Testament as history. Yet, the Psalms
are prayers—that is their literary genre—and this must be taken into account
in interpreting them. All historical hypotheses must be tentative, reflecting
an awareness that the documents in question are not written as religious
history, but as dialogues.38 It follows from this that a christological
reading restores to the Psalms their existential significance. For the
purpose of prayer, the original Sitz im Leben of the psalm is well-nigh
irrelevant; one must not so much enter the mind of the original psalmist,
as learn to make the psalm one’s own. Indeed, the value of the Psalms as
prayers lies in their applicability to an almost infinite variety of human
Furthermore, if a Christian is to sincerely pray
the Psalms, he must do so as a Christian. A twentieth-century Norwegian
Baptist cannot pray as a sixth-century–B.C. Israelite. Some kind of analogy
is required. The land for a Christian has the same significance that it
had for an Israelite: security, provision, and identity. Yet, the Christian
prays Psalm 37, for example, with a clearer prospect of the reception of
those gifts in the age to come, when “the meek shall inherit the earth.”
This christocentric framework has enabled Christians throughout the centuries
to sincerely pray even the imprecatory psalms, knowing that, while the
Israelite who first prayed Psalm 137 may have applied it to the hated Babylonians,
one may pray this same psalm, with full sincerity, in the light of the
Sun of Righteousness, against the evil inclinations of his own flesh—an
enemy just as real, and far more deadly than the might of Babylon.
A Reading of Scripture
for All Christians
The mentality that undergirds this kind of prayer
has been transmitted through Christian culture built upon a christological,
narrative reading of the Bible.39 This mentality, while perhaps not sufficient
to allow for the full expression of the traditional “spiritual interpretation,”
is necessary to it. The fundamental conviction of the Christian is that
God has acted in history and has come to us in Christ. One must accept
the biblical story in its fullness as the story of our world, of my world,
in order for spiritual interpretation to be genuine, and not simply a literary
game. George Lindbeck has noted the decline of narrative Bible reading
and its coincidence with the erosion of a common mind in the Church.40
The traditional narrative/typological/spiritual reading of Scripture is
unitive. It is a myth, in the anthropological sense of the term: a story
that explains the world and forms the worldview of a people, among whom
it is passed on.
Now, the power of a myth is in proportion to its
acceptance as a depiction of reality. Carl Amerding has pointed out that
the story that the Bible tells gives its own indications that it is meant
to depict actual events—to be taken seriously, accepted as a true depiction
of reality, it must be seen to have some relation to actual historical
events. In Amerding’s view, that they took place, and are typically related,
is the claim of the Bible itself.41 To carry the weight of conviction,
the typological, and thus the christological, reading of the Bible must
be rooted in faith that the central events the Bible narrates—Christ’s
passion, death, and resurrection, and the central events of the history
of Israel in their general outlines—actually took place. The tools of historical-critical
method cannot be ignored, but must, rather, be employed in an even-handed
way that does not blithely dismiss the extraordinary, or indeed the miraculous,
and remains aware of its own limitations.42
Thus, a new synthesis is demanded, one which unites
modern historical-critical tools, literary alertness to the Bible’s self-interpretation,
and systematic theology in a way that feeds spiritual life. As Joseph Ratzinger
[Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI] has put it:
The time seems to have arrived for a
new and thorough reflection on exegetical method. Scientific exegesis must
recognize the philosophic element present in a great number of its ground
rules, and it must then reconsider the results which are based on these
rules. . . . What we need now are not new hypotheses on the Sitz im Leben,
on possible sources, or on the subsequent process of handing down the material.
What we do need is a critical look at the exegetical landscape we now have,
so that we may return to the text, and distinguish between those hypotheses
which are helpful and those which are not. Only under these conditions
can a new and fruitful collaboration between exegesis and systematic theology
begin. And only in this way will exegesis be of real help in understanding
Such a new synthesis may yield both greater interest
in the study of the Old Testament, (a field the critical issue for which,
as Amerding has suggested, is, “Is anybody listening?”)44 and greater conviction
about what C. S. Lewis described as “a myth that really happened.”
Thus, a return to christocentric interpretation
means a return to the text as it understands itself; to the Bible as the
primary source of dogma (as both Reformers and their predecessors held);
to an exegesis built on faith; and to a reading of the Bible aimed at nourishing
The current climate is a far different one than
that in which the sixteenth-century polemic occurred, and far more conducive
to perceiving the common assumptions and approaches that both Roman Catholics
and Protestants brought to their debates.46 The call for a postmodern hermeneutic
of faith comes from quarters as diverse as the Tyndale Fellowship, the
Evangelical Orthodox Church, and the Cardinal Prefect of the Roman Catholic
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In this enterprise, the dividing
lines may no longer separate Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox
from one another, but separate those who approach the Bible with trust
from those who follow “a radical hermeneutic of suspicion.”47 That can
only be a happy prospect for the rebuilding of Christian unity and culture.
article is excerpted from the article,“Christ in All the Scriptures,” by
Dr. John Yocum, which appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of Touchstone
Magazine. Used with Permission.
Dr. John Yocum teaches theology
at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. He is an elder of
the Servants of the Word and leader of the international formation house
in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA. He also serves as a a coordinator in the Word
of Life community and the international teaching team for the Sword of
G. W. H. Lampe, “The Reasonableness of Typology” in G. W. H. Lampe and
K. J. Woolcombe, Essays In Typology(Studies In Biblical Theology, vol.
22) London: SCM Press, 1956, p. 9.
“Hermeneutic” here is used in its broad sense, of the whole process of
understanding, or to use Schleiermacher’s term, “the art of understanding,”
as applied not only to the linguistic matter of the text, but also to the
import of it. Gerhard Ebeling, “Hermeneutics,” translated by Charles McCullough
from Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart,Tübingen: Mohr, 1959,
v. 3, 242–262. Raymond Brown, “Hermeneutics” in The New Jerome Biblical
Commentary,London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1990, p. 1147.
Hans Frei, “The ‘Literal Reading’ of Biblical Narrative in the Christian
Tradition: Does It Stretch or Will It Break?” in The Bible And Narrative
Tradition, Frank McConnell ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
See G. W. H. Lampe, “The Reasonableness of Typology” for a lucid description
of the signal change that has come upon, not only the academic world, but
the whole of Christian culture since the rise of biblical criticism.
Northrop Frye, The Great Code, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982,
Frye, p. 80. Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1952, p. 16 and passim. The observations of these two authors are especially
interesting and important, because they are approaching the Bible as literary
critics, not as theologians. They have no prior commitment to a particular
“biblical theology”—nor are they seeking to establish one. They base their
conclusions on what they see in the text itself as a literary work.
Ibid., p. 149.
Leonhard Goppelt,Typos: Die typologische Deutung des alten Testaments im
Neuen, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliches Buchgesellschaft, 1981, p. 237.
D. Moody Smith, “The Pauline Literature” in Scripture Citing Scripture.
Essays in Honour of Barnabas Lindars,D.A. Carson and H.G.M. Williamson,
eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 287.
Northrop Frye,The Great Code, p. 80. Cf. Erich Auerbach,Mimesis,p. 16.
Hans W. Frei, The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study In Eighteenth
and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics, New Haven: Yale University Press,
1974, ch. 2.
T. H. L. Parker sees three main streams among the various sixteenth-century
views of the Old Testament. He groups the Reformers and Roman Catholics
together, in opposition to both the freethinkers and Anabaptists. The second
group were a small minority, but Calvin sees them as the main threat in
some of his commentaries. (T. H. L. Parker,Calvin’s Old Testament Commentaries,Edinburgh:
T&T Clark, 1986, p. 44.) Yet, because of their emphasis on the investigation
of the author’s intention, and the use of what we would now term “critical
tools,” many see the Reformers as the forerunners of historical-, form-,
and redaction-critics. (Anthony C. Thiselton,New Horizons in Hermeneutics,London:
Harper/Collins, 1992, p. 158.)
John Calvin,Commentaries on the First Book of Moses, Called Genesis,Edinburgh:
Calvin Translation Society, 1874, vol. 1, p. 170. (Unless otherwise indicated,
all citations from Calvin’s commentaries are taken fromCalvin’s Commentaries,James
Anderson, tr., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949.)
Thiselton, p. 158.
Ibid. Manlio Simonetti claims that in order to understand the allegorical
interpretative method among the Greeks, it is important to recognize the
prestige of Homer’s works, so great that divine origins were attributed
to him. Manlio Simonetti, Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church,
John A. Hughes, tr., Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1994.
Simonetti, pp. 6–7. Robert Grant, David Tracey,A Short History of the Interpretation
of the Bible,Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984, p.160.
Henri de Lubac, The Sources Of Revelation, (L’Ecriture dans la tradition)Luke
O’Neill, tr., N.Y.: Herder and Herder, 1968, p. 12.
Ibid., p. 16.
The reformers were also concerned to reestablish the Scripture itself as
the immediate source for theology. As G. R. Evans concludes at the end
of her two-volume study,The Language and Logic of The Bible:“Perhaps the
essential difference between the sixteenth-century view and that of the
late medieval centuries is the bringing together again of speculative theology
and exegesis, which had become separated for the purposes of study into
two parallel tracks in the late twelfth century. After some practice Luther
could use the Bible as a source-book for theological discussion, without
reference to sentences or summa. This new complexion of exegesis undoubtedly
contributed to the polarization of Protestant and Roman Catholic views
of the nature of the enterprise which took place in the sixteenth century.
Polemical treatises from either side reflect upon the assumptions and principles
of the other. . . . Yet this awareness of differences covers, as we have
seen, a vast bulk of common endeavour and hides from view the preponderance
of common assumptions about the nature and purpose of Scripture on which
apologists for both sides were in fact proceeding.” G. R. Evans,The Language
And Logic of the Bible: The Road To Reformation, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1985, pp. 158–59.
Not all, nor perhaps most, of the Roman opponents of the Reformers approached
the debate from this angle. Peter Canisius is a notable example of one
who also held that the Scripture is self-interpreting, that appeal to tradition
is made only to deal with the most difficult and disputed passages, and
that in that case it has primarily something of an adjudicating role. (James
Broderick,Life of St. Peter Canisius,pp. 404–405.)
Calvin uses perspicuitas as a rhetorical term. The interpreter allows the
text to become perspicuous by allowing the author’s intentions to flow
from it. He uses the term “effectiveness,” much as Luther uses “perspicuity”
(Thiselton, p. 185.)
Ibid., p. 156.
Ibid., p. 155.
Ibid., p. 179.
Ibid., p. 24.
Runia, p. 151.
“Dialogue” here is meant to reflect the prophetic element, by which God
is the direct speaker in, for example, Psalm 89.
For a brilliant survey of patristic interpretation of Psalm 1, which brings
this approach into high relief, cf. Chrysogonus Waddell, “A Christological
Interpretation Of Psalm 1? The Psalter and Christian Prayer,”Communio,22.3,
3 (Autumn 1995), pp. 502–21.
Lindbeck, George, “Scripture, Consensus, and Community,” inBiblical Interpretation
in Crisis, Richard John Neuhaus, ed., Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1989, pp.
Carl E. Amerding, “Faith and Method in Old Testament Study: Story Exegesis,”
inA Pathway Into The Holy Scripture, Philip E. Satterthwaite and David
F. Wright, eds., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994, pp. 31–49.
This raises grand issues that are well beyond the scope of this paper.
Joseph Ratzinger brings out some dangers inherent in criticism that is
unaware of its own prejudices, using Bultmann and Dibelius as examples.
(Joseph Ratzinger, “Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question
of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today,” in Biblical Interpretation
in Crisis, cited above.) In the field of Old Testament criticism, one might
point to the likely demise of the Four-Source Hypothesis as a foundation
for Old Testament study, to the increasing interest in the study of the
text in its final form. One thinks also of the archaeological evidence
uncovered in the last sixty years that points to a large-scale invasion
of Palestine around the time the Conquest of the land would have begun:
the idea of any kind of conquest had previously been dismissed as the imaginative
product of later generations.
Ratzinger, pp. 22–23.
Amerding, p. 31.
Amerding points to the importance of two elements in exegesis: the working
of the Holy Spirit in the interpreter and the use of the faculty of imagination,
which, of course, is deeply affected by the attitude that the interpreter
brings to the text. Amerding, pp. 37–38.
Evans, pp. 158–59.
Thiselton, p. 141.
See related articles:
Unity of the Scriptures, An introduction by Don Schwager
In All the Scriptures, by Dr. John Yocum
to Read the Bible, by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware
Authority of Scripture, by Steve Clark
Scriptures Are One Book in Christ, quotes from early church fathers
Scripture As God's Word, by J.I. Packer
the Bible It Is God Who Is Speaking to Us, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Can Understand the Bible, by Peter Kreeft
Versus Informational Reading of the Scriptures, by M. Robert Mulholland
to Silence the Scriptures, by Soren Kierkegaard
the Scriptures with the Early Church Fathers, by Don Schwager
Study Course, by Don Schwager