I, Thou, and the Need for We: An Incarnational Reading of Martin Buber, Goals and Motivations for Presenting Sin in Church History, Happiness, Death, Anxiety, Resurrection – IV: The Apostle Paul, Breath of the Soul: Sustenance for Daily Strength, Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. Nobody can say why God made the world. A person who does not grow in love does not truly understand the scriptures, even if that person knows a lot about the scriptures. Those readers should be gently corrected and directed back to the right path. Augustine’s a posteriori interpretation presupposes a particular community (the Church), and thus the two-fold act of discovery (modus inveniendi) and delivery (modus proferendi) is properly required for a full-orbed interpretation of Scripture (tractatio scripturarum). As a pastor and teacher of the faithful, Augustine wrote On Christian Teaching as a simple guide to biblical interpretation. 22:37-9)” (265) are the basis for any and all true interpretations of scripture. As Paul says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (. It is not easy to teach such a wide spectrum of students. On the one hand, Augustine values the literal sense and encourages readers to find value in it. As many Bible teachers recommend, Augustine encourages readers to gain understanding of the original biblical languages. Augustine states that the intended meaning is that which “corresponds both to the light of truth and to the reader’s spiritual profit” (270). as a simple guide to biblical interpretation. If the purpose of the scriptures is to train a person to live a righteous life and to equip a person to do good works (2 Tim 3:16-17), then I suppose the scriptures cease to have a purpose once a person is living them out. Each semester I work with students who have either very little or no exposure to the Bible. St. Augustine: The Literal Meaning of Genesis (Ancient Christian Writers Book 41) - Kindle edition by John Hammond Taylor. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. “So anyone who thinks he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbour, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.”1. However, Augustine makes the provocative statement that a person firmly rooted in faith, hope, and love really has no need for the scriptures. While it opens up the possibility for various valid perspectives, my concern is that it might be difficult to discern when certain interpretations fail to match up to this standard. I simply mean that where other interpretations differ from our own but do not contradict what the Bible says elsewhere and which rightly conform to the commandments to love God and others, it is better to recognize them as valid even when we have reason in our own eyes to believe the view we hold is better. Those false interpretations which are most harmful will, at least in theory, be much easier to identify as not being based in the commandments to love God and others. I was interested in this idea and how scriptural interpretation according to this principle might be accomplished. Then I make sure that my students have a general sense of the books of the Bible and their arrangement. Reading and interpreting the Bible is never meant to be a purely academic or intellectual exercise, although it certainly can be read in that fashion. I agree with what you’re saying here and in no way intended to be taken as saying that Christians should countenance as valid any interpretation of scripture which they believe to be false and which cannot be reconciled with saving faith in Christ. He wanted to equip his congregation to read, interpret, understand, and apply the scriptures on their own. Therefore, if scripture seems to confirm a secular idea (or at least allow for it), then there is no reason in Augustine’s view to not see it as valid. They have a working knowledge of the history of the Israelite people. Or maybe it would be better to look at it differently. Keeping in mind that the goal of the Christian life is to order one’s loves correctly, the person who has interpreted the Bible wrongly, but loves, has taken a side trail to the right destination. [Both Suk Arras and Bona ar… “So anyone who thinks he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbour, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.”. Even so, he believes that the love command (to love God and to love one’s neighbor) provides a central principle that is useful for biblical interpretation. “If, as I began by saying, he is misled by an idea of the kind that builds up love, which is the end of the commandment, he is misled in the same way as a walker who leaves his path by mistake but reaches the destination to which the path leads by going through a field. Much of the paper is devoted to Augustine's explication and application of these principles in his conversion The literal sense for Augustine is the sense the words bear in their original historical-linguistic context. It seems fairly clear to me that passages of scripture can be interpreted in many different ways and that one interpretation would not necessarily have to conflict with another. ).” Paul and Augustine are making the same point: the truths of the scriptures are meant to be lived out. As you rightly point out, however, there are interpretations that we cannot agree to disagree over–but often I think Christians tend to overestimate these. However, I do not know if I can ALWAYS go all the way with you to say that it is “better to recognize too many interpretations than too few.” I have to make a distinction here between interpretations of nonessential and distinctive doctrines on one hand, and essential doctrines on the other. A person who does not grow in love does not truly understand the scriptures, even if that person knows a lot about the scriptures. 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