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On The Right Interpretation Of Scripture (For Pastors Only)

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BUSHUR BOOKThis quote from Bushur's book leads us back to the reservation of right Scriptural interpretation:

"The body of Jesus as narrated in the Gospels anchors the church’s reading of prophetic texts and apostolic epistles. However, the stability provided by the flesh of Christ for the church’s reading of scripture does not necessarily produce a monolithic or predictable exegesis. Indeed, within the setting of God’s formation and perfection of humanity, there is, for Irenaeus, a certain freedom of interpretation. His emphasis on the theological setting of the text in the flesh of Jesus encourages a contemplation of texts and images that never exhausts their eternal meaning. The flesh of Christ gives the scriptures a mystical center that, while it has rational content, can never be intellectually contained.”

— Irenaeus of Lyons and the Mosaic of Christ: Preaching Scripture in the Era of Martyrdom by James G. Bushur https://a.co/j68WQDY

This passage moves us away from the intellectual / linguistic interpretation of Scripture that conservative Protestants rely on. Linguistics and intellect, while important, are but the door by which we enter the house, but they are not the house itself. But the flesh of Christ is. (This is why baptism should be seen as a locational reality. By it we leave one domain, and enter another, Christ, just like faithful Thomas did on the 8th day. [Jn 20 & Col. 1:13]  Thus St. Paul's use of the term "in Christ" some 100 times in his sermons. 

Bushur via Irenaeus teaches here that the Gospels are not literary documents, but they are the "body of Jesus ... narrated". Said another way the gospels are the: verbal Icon of Christ. They are the means by which Jesus is: with us to the end of the age (Mt. 28:20), at which time we will behold him face to face. And so the proper "theological setting" of the Scriptures is the Eucharistic assembly of the baptized. "The flesh of Christ," as Bushur writes, "gives the Scriptures a mystical center that, while it has rational content, can never be intellectually contained."

This is precisely the point at which conservative Protestants lose their way; when they intellectually and linguistically interpret of Scripture and consider the job done, the battle won.

 

1 Comment

Dean, very nice article.

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