Thursday, January 26, 2012

Severe discipline

"In the morass of subjectivity came a Professor of Literature from the University of Virginia, E D Hirsch. Reading his book Validity in Interpretation during my seminary years was like suddenly finding a rock under my feet in the quicksand of contemporary concepts about meaning......

....My debt at this point to Daniel Fuller is incalculable. He taught hermeneutics- the science of how to interpret the Bible. Not only did he introduce me to E D Hirsch and force me to read him with rigour, but he also taught me how to read the Bible with what Matthew Arnold called "severe discipline." He showed me the obvious: that the verses of the Bible are not strung pearls but links in a chain. The writers developed unified patterns of thought. They reasoned. "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18). This meant that in each paragraph of Scripture, one should ask how each part related to the other parts in order to say one coherent thing. Then the paragraphs should be related to each other in the same way. And then the chapters, then the books, and so on until the unity of the Bible is found on its own terms.

I felt like my little brown path of life had entered an orchard, a vineyard, a garden with mind-blowing, heart-thrilling life-changing fruit to be picked everywhere. Never had I seen so much truth and so much beauty condensed in so small a sphere. The Bible seemed to me then, and it seems today, inexhaustible. This is what I had dreamed about in the health centre with mono, when God called me to the ministry of the word"

Don't waste your life, John Piper

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