On Reading Scripture & Wisdom

What does wisdom have to do with reading Scripture?

Here at Theology Forum, we believe the ability to read and engage theological texts in a judicial and irenic (peaceable) spirit is something to be cultivated. Far too often it seems, readings are done polemically or in ways that harm the Christian community. So, toward opening up irenic discussion and cultivating the theological craft of inquiring honesty and deliberating wisely we are starting a new series.

We will post selections from various theologians from across the spectrum, suggest some questions, and invite your interaction. The goal here is not necessarily critique, but careful reading, irenic dialogue, and the fostering of good theological habits.

‘The specifically theological character of the rereading [of scripture] lies in it being done before david-ford.jpgGod, in relationship with God, seeking in the Spirit to follow the purposes of God in the world and finding in scriptures inspired testimony to what all of that involves. If “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” then wisdom interpretation of scripture is done primarily with respect to and for God. The most important thing is to learn to read and reread for the sake of God and the Kingdom of God. This sort of reading is not just a skill to be mastered; it is inseparable from learning to love God, neighbours and enemies, and from transformations of life as well as mind (p. 68)’

- What is the relationship between the (re)reader of Scripture and God? Does this matter? Why?

- How are the activities of the (re)reader and God portrayed? Does one receive more emphasis than the other?

- What can Ford teach us about our reading the Scriptures- individually or corporately?

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2 thoughts on “On Reading Scripture & Wisdom

  1. Briefly…to narrow the conversation to reading scripture in corporate worship, I think a good reading will draw attention away from oneself and to god.

    So there’s a delicate balance for the reader to read well enough to have the text speak, but not so in a “hey look at me I’m a good reader” sort of way.

    More broadly, I’m a little wary of Ford’s claims in his first sentence.

    “The specifically theological character of the rereading [of scripture] lies in it being done before God, in relationship with God, seeking in the Spirit to follow the purposes of God in the world and finding in scriptures inspired testimony to what all of that involves.”

    I believe this limits God’s power to work in the reading of Scripture by someone who does not intend to read “before God” or who is not in “relationship with God” etc. Seems like Ford is boxing-in God, and the power of the Spirit to inspire.

    http://adamjcopeland.com

  2. Adam, thanks for stopping by and leaving some good comments.

    Like you, I have minor reservations about some aspects of Ford’s wording, though I think he might be on to something when he speaks about a ‘relational’ reading of scripture. I took Ford to be saying something like, if God is to be known, he presents himself to be known in Scripture.

    I think Ford simply wants to emphasise the singularity of God’s revelation in Scripture and perhaps, by way of implication, God cannot be drawn out by our own reasoning, He only choses to reveal himself in a relationship.

    What do you think?

    Mark

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