How Should I Interpret the Bible? The Modern View (The Covenant & the Cross #2)

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s Bible verse is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which reads: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Charles H. Spurgeon. He said, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

Today, we are going to continue our overview of some topics that will help us as we study the Bible throughout future episodes.

Our topic for today is titled: “How Should I Interpret the Bible? The Modern View” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing: A Historical Survey of the Old and New Testaments” by Michael A. Harbin.

In distinction to the traditional view, the second school of interpretation is often called the modern view, also known as the liberal or critical view (the latter term is unhelpful because it could imply that the traditional view does not analyze issues critically). The modern view approaches the biblical documents as suspect at best. While these documents claim to be history, they are assumed to be late forgeries until conclusively proven otherwise. This view gained dominance in scholarly circles during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Its supporters continue to label the bulk of the Bible as “myth,” though their position on certain matters has often changed as a result of corroborating evidence. The real issue underlying the thinking of these scholars is a set of philosophical assumptions rather than conflicting evidence. In general, these conjectures reflect a spirit of naturalism, which can be simplistically reduced to the idea that miracles cannot happen. The miraculous accounts that appear in the Bible must therefore be regarded as, at best, “embellishments” of the text.

These two views actually represent a rather wide spectrum of interpretive thought. There is also a problem in using labels not only because doing so immediately seems to attach emotional nuances to the discussion, but also because individuals will differ on particular issues while agreeing on broader principles. Therefore, I will use these labels merely for convenience’ sake, recognizing the risk of oversimplification. They should be understood as reflecting general trends.

On our next broadcast, we will look at what is called “The Modern View” of interpreting the Bible.


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