Reading Scripture With Faith and Intellect

**As I progress through my doctoral program I will be placing some of my work on here. Please feel free to engage with me in the learning process to seek greater depth in understanding of leadership, scripture, and life.

Accurate and diligent biblical exegesis is a spiritual discipline that can not be overlooked or ignored by an believer of Christ. As the distance grows between the world of the original biblical authors and the readers in a modern context, the depth and truth of scripture potentially slips further and further from understanding. Scripture is intended to have meaning and application for an ancient world as well as a modern context, however the modern application and meaning can only be fully understood in the ancient context it was originally written. (Duvall, 2012, p. 21)

Unfortunately, there is a fear among some Christians that a more academic approach, or a more intellectual approach to scripture, will supplant the role of faith in exegeting scripture. This is the essence of the question posed by Chris. Can an academic, intellectual approach to scripture reading coincide with a healthy faith?

First and foremost, it should be recognized that reading scripture is a spiritual endeavor. Scripture is spirit-sourced writing that requires an active spirit of faith to enter into a relationship with God for the reader. (Peterson, 2005, p. 4) The Apostle Paul didn’t see this spiritual existence as a separation from one’s intellectual responsibility. Quite on the contrary he insists, “those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit.” (Rom. 8:5) Paul felt as though one’s intentional focus of the mind would follow an intentional focus of the spirit. Unfortunately, it seems to be a lack of understanding, or possibly laziness, that causes individuals to commit only one portion of their existence to the understanding of scripture, and allow the other to passively follow. Jesus was diligent in both aspects, and as his followers, we should follow suit. (Luke 4:16-21)

References

Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: study Bible: English standard version (ESV text ed.). Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles.

Duvall, J. S., Hays, J. D., & Strauss, K. J. V. and M. L. (2012). Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (3 edition.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Peterson, E. H. (2006). Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.


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