Presentation on theme: "Teaching and Preaching: Balancing Word and Spirit Introductory thoughts Some definitions assumed in our conversation: – Exegesis = the historical investigation."— Presentation transcript:
Teaching and Preaching: Balancing Word and Spirit Introductory thoughts Some definitions assumed in our conversation: – Exegesis = the historical investigation into the meaning of the biblical text(s). It answers the questions: What did the author mean? (thus referring to intentionality); Why did the author say what he said? (historical situation). In essence, exegesis aims to discover what the author intended for his original readers to understand. – Hermeneutics = the investigation and interpretation of (biblical) texts and their meaning and significance. It also involves understanding the process of interpreting texts.
– Preaching and teaching = the proclamation and communication of the biblical message: its meaning, significance, and contemporary application. Our Aim in this seminar is to understand and embrace the role of the Holy Spirit in the exegetical, interpretive, and communicative processes.
Although we explore hermeneutical and homiletical issues, this is not primarily a seminar on hermeneutics and homiletics. Rather, we are seeking to explore what is essential to faithful and fruitful interpretation and communication of the biblical message– the role of the Holy Spirit.
Seminar approach Learning is best achieved in dialogue. Learning environments must be safe. Learning must have immediate application. Learning is about personal development.
Some Basic Issues The Bible as God’s Special Revelation The inspiration of the Scriptures A recognition of biblical authority The reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible The Bible as God’s “living and active” Word to us: The Bible is both an past text and a dynamic instrument of the Spirit The Progressive nature of biblical revelation The divine and human nature of inspiration Avoiding “bibliolatry”
The Need for Exegesis and Hermeneutics The Hermeneutical Gap: The Bible: An Ancient Text – Linguistic – Cultural – Historical – Geographical – Worldview The “Two Horizons” = the text ↔ the reader
The Holy Spirit and the Holy Scripture The danger of seeing exegesis/hermeneutics as a “science.” – The interpreter becomes the “master” of the text. The interpreter is the subject and the text the object. – Modern epistemological notions = reason the determiner of what is true or real. – Treating the Bible as if it is just another book. – Imposing modern categories on the Bible
Loosing sight of other ways of “seeing.” The tacit, intuitive, spiritual knowledge Scripture speaks of—God communicating to us by the Holy Spirit “trans-rationally. Essential to understanding the Holy Spirit’s role. Knowledge is more than simple rationality. – Ephesians 1:15-23 – I Corinthians 1 & 2
The Inseparable Link: Spirit and Scripture in Interpretation and Communication Too often the Spirit is missing in both liberal and conservative interpretation. Yet the Holy Spirit not only inspired the text, he makes the written word effective and relevant The testimony of Scripture: – II Timothy 3:14-17 – I Peter 1 – II Peter 2 – II Cor 3:12-18 – Luke 24:45
– Acts 16:14 – Acts 4:8 – I Thes 1:5 → 2:13 The Holy Spirit as Our Teacher – John 14:16-17, 26 – John 15: – John 16:13-15 – I John 2:27 – I John 5:6
Exegesis and Spirituality Gordon Fee maintains that true exegesis is inseparably tied to understanding not only the author’s intended message but to engage also the author’s intended spirituality as well. Why is this important to exegesis? – Because the author was not simply communicating facts and information to his readers but sought to lead his readers into “worship of God and conformity to God and his ways.”
We are called to enter into the spirituality of the text by our full commitment and devotion to follow Jesus, embracing for our own lives his transforming grace. Accordingly, we, like Paul, call others to follow Christ as we follow him.
Cultivating An Ear to Hear Contending for a Spirit-filled life Developing a life of prayer and worship Maintaining a dynamic relationship with the Bible – Reading – Studying – Humility to the text(s) Obedience in the big and little things of life. Confession and repentance as way of life The practice of solitude and rest Relational harmony & fidelity A “listening” and well guarded heart
Communicating Biblical Texts: The Process A foundational commitment to the steps reviewed in “Cultivating And Ear To Hear.” Regular patterns of study Prayerful dependence and prophetic sensitivity Imaginative reading of Scripture A teaching/preaching plan or calendar Preserving & nurturing insights and ideas
Letting the Spirit Speak Acknowledging the liberty of NT interpretation of OT texts Acknowledging the progress of doctrine in the Bible Acknowledging the post-canonical historical development of theology and biblical studies – Protestant Reformation – Pentecostal/charismatic movements
How much freedom do we have in interpreting texts/letting the Spirit lead us? Considerable with the following conditions – Authorial intention is the anchor. Be careful to not stray too far. – Discern all interpretations through the lens of the “Great Tradition.” – Interpret within a confessional faith community.
Practical Reflections on Balancing Word and Spirit
A Sacramental View of Scripture: Communicating Grace The Bible contains cognitive revelation but we must avoid thinking of the Bible in a purely cognitive sense. The Bible facilitates communion with God It is vehicle of the Spirit It is “true bread” sustaining spiritual life (Matt 4:4)
“Surplus of Meaning” Is this valid? In a qualified sense, yes. – The key to avoid error requires that we “distinguish the objective authority of the text in its original meaning, which is canonical and universal, and the subjective authority of our own insights into current significance of the text, which are local and timely but not universal. What the text originally meant provides the fixed point of reference for everything else.” Clark Pinnock
The objective Word, the written Scripture, together with the subjective word, the inner illumination and conviction of the Holy Spirit, constitutes the authority for the Christian. Millard Erickson “It is not the text by itself, as in fundamentalism, or the Spirit alone, as in charismatic excesses, but the fruitful combination of the two. The written Word, correctly interpreted, and the illuminating work of the of Spirit are the objective and subjective base in the pattern of Christian authority.” Clark Pinnock