Interpreting Scripture

According to theologian Shirley Guthrie, "there is always the danger that we will find in the Bible only what we take with us to it-that we will use it to confirm what we are lady think and will hear only what we want to hear."* Therefore, we are called to hold several principles in tension as we read and interpret scripture together. The principles listed below are just a few that are more fully lined out in Shirley Guthrie's Christian Doctrine.


  1. Lens of Christ - We are asked to interpret all scripture through the light of Christ. What would Jesus teaching say about a particular text or idea that we are currently reading?

  2. Law of Love - the greatest commandment is two-fold: Love God and Love Neighbor. As Guthrie writes, "Any interpretation of scripture is wrong that shows indifference toward or contempt for any individual of group inside or outside the church.

  3. Scripture interprets itself - we must listen to all of scripture together to gain a more firm understanding of a particular passage.

  4. In Community - scripture is meant to be read aloud in the midst of community. We can more fully understand scripture and what God is calling us to do and be when we are in relationship with one another, and a deeper relationship with God.

Remember, scripture and The Gospel has the power to comfort the afflicted and to afflict those of us who are too comfortable.


* Shirley Guthrie, Christian Doctrine. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY)




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