Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How We Read the Bible - Part 9

In this post, I want to suggest a model for how you might begin to make your biases more conscious.

A few years ago, I began to notice some consistent patterns in my interpretation of Scripture.

I noticed there were passages of Scripture that I turned to more often than others. Today, those continue to be the Scriptures that I superimpose (You can read more about this in Part 4) onto other passages when conflict arises in my interpretation.

But I admit that my theology is influenced by many factors. I'm certain that I have blind spots and I'm guessing my biases will continue to be shaped in the years to come. Ultimately, I'm depending on the grace of God to cover my sin and errors in my theology.

I truly believe I'm right about everything. If I didn't think I was correct, I would change my mind. Few people consciously choose to be in error. Usually those people have some kind of of mental condition.

And if I'm intellectually honest, I have to admit that certain parts of Scripture that if taken on their own would disagree with my theology.

So, I developed a list of Scriptures that support my hermeneutical biases and a list that contradicts my theological biases.

Now, that seems counterintuitive because we're so used to arguing for our side that we intentionally hide parts of Scripture that disagree with us. But I believe admitting weaknesses in our theology keeps us more accountable to the positions we hold.

So, here's my list. I won't describe how each of these texts supports/disagrees with my theology, but I'd be glad to chat with any of you who want to discuss my list in more detail...especially if you are interested in creating a similar list of your own.

Core Scriptures (Passages that support my core theology)
Genesis 1-2
Genesis 12:1-3
Exodus 14:15-31
1 Samuel 8
Isaiah 2:1-5
Isaiah 11
Isaiah 55
Isaiah 65:17-25 
Daniel 7:13-28
Matthew 5-7
Matthew 25:31-46
Mark 1:14-15
Luke 4:18-21
Acts 15:1-35
Romans 8
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:13 
Philippians 2:5-11
Hebrews 1:1-3
Hebrews 13:11-14
James 1:27
Revelation 18
Revelation 21-22

Problem Scriptures (Passages that trouble me or seemingly contradict my core theology)
Genesis 22:1-19
Deuteronomy 7:1-2
Deuteronomy 20
Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Joshua 6:16-17
Joshua 11:7-23
Matthew 10:34
Matthew 17:20-21; John 16:23-24
1 Corinthians 14:33b-35
1 Timothy 2:11-15
1 Peter 2:13-18
Revelation 19:11-21

Thoughts? You're welcome to leave your list as well.



Anonymous said...

I actually know scripture that contradicts my theology, and it certainly makes me less cocky.
Candace McGinty

Steve B said...

You would probably enjoy Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz. VERY informative and insightful.


Collin Packer said...


I read that book a few weeks ago. Great stuff!

As Kathryn says, none of us ever know the feeling of being wrong. As soon as we are aware of our error, we have already changed our minds. Important book!

Dick Bolz said...

'As soon as we are aware of our error, we have already changed our minds.'...Really?

A great challenge, Collin. Some on your first list ended up on my second list.