Monday, April 12, 2010

The following questions posed by J.I. Packer from his essay, Puritansas Interpreters of Scripture may be of interests. Though challenging to even come close to adequately grappling with their meaning seems fairly clear, which if applied with diligence holds much potential in expanding our understanding and appreciation of God's revelation in and through Scripture. Question One, as simple as it may appear to be, may be rather complex requiring some reasonable sense of original meaning, which good commentaries can help address, how the text may have been re-interpreted in later intra-biblical (Old and New testament)readings, how the texts have been interpreted through different historical periods (and what such interpretations open to us as a form of imaginative hermeneutical dialogue), and finally, what the text means for various communities of contemporary readers as well as our own unique understanding.

Question: To what extent (I think a fair degree) is there a plain meaning of the text that with the aid of the Holy Spirit is more or less obvious and constant, say, for example, when Jude speaks of "the faith once for all delivered to the saints," or the writer of the letter to the Hebrews states that Christ is "the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

George Demetrion

Six key questions on biblical interpretation from J.I. Packer’s essay, The Puritans as Interpreters of Scripture
1. What do the words studied actually mean?
2. What light do other Scriptures throw on the texts under study? Where and how do these texts fit in to the total biblical revelation?
3. What truths do they teach about God and about humankind in relation to God?
4. How are these truths related to the saving work of Christ, and what light does the gospel of Christ throw on them?
5. What experiences do these truths delineate, or explain, or seek to create or cure? For what practical purpose do they stand in Scripture?
6. How do they apply to myself and others in our actual situation? To what present human condition do they speak, and what are they telling us to believe or do?


  1. Great blog-title, George!
    Packer's list is simple, practical.
    One of the most intellectually-spiritually liberating courses I ever had was titled
    "The History of Biblical Hermeneutics."
    A room with a view --
    many views --
    many directions --
    all to the glory of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    -- Willis Elliott

  2. Thank you Wilis,

    I look forward to your thoughtful reflections from time to time as we move forward.