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Interpreting Scripture, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 374

Essay

A substantial and perpetual dilemma exists regarding all scripture, concerning the vastly important aspect of actual authorship. That is to say, contention does not usually arise as to who composed the writings of the Old and New Testament, but more as to how valid these human channels are. The reality rarely addressed or considered is that there is no word of God that has come to us directly from God; consequently, there is always the question of how much of that word is substance, and how much interpretation by God’s chosen vessel of communication.  This then leads to the further issue of how greatly man’s literary forms have influenced scripture, both in creation and interpretation.

The men and women of the time of Christ lived with all the turmoil and changes that influence people everywhere, and at all times. Add to this the immensely powerful agent of actually transcribing God’s word, and it seems obvious that all man’s powers to employ literary styles must be in evidence in scripture. These were people who lived the greatest transformation man may undergo. The responsibility of conveying this to the world, then, demands the use of the most effective literary styles or devices.  For example, in John 6-22: 59, John quotes Jesus in a way not in keeping with His words as quoted elsewhere in the Gospels; biblical authorities agree in the validity of a style of expression actually used by Jesus, yet John embellishes this into a lengthier form of address (Albl  289). The student of scripture, then, is obligated to consider what John’s purpose as an “author” was, in changing the manner of speech.   Here, as elsewhere in the scriptures, it appears that the writing is done to best capture the essence of the experience.  In this case, it seems John wishes to emphasize the connection between Jesus and the villagers to whom he speaks. Writing must reach its audience and, as the disciples were charged with the most daunting task of writing ever known to humanity, it is natural and inevitable that they would alter exact events and present exchanges in styles that more powerfully express the circumstances.

Works Cited

Albl, M.  Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2009.  Print.

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