Continuing on Joel Green’s Seized by Truth. In chapter 3, Green asserts that our reading of Scripture must be…
1. Ecclesially located
2. Theologically fashioned
3. Critically engaged
So, let’s take a look at his 3rd point, that reading Scripture must be critically engaged. He begins, “By critical, I refer to the need for discernment with reference to the varieties of possible reading of biblical texts” (p. 89). Green acknowledges our human propensity to read into the message of the Bible justification and affirmation for our own cultural outlook and societal values, so he exhorts us to “come to Scripture again and again, in humility, not only with our questions but with an openness to its questions–open to the possibility that this text will speak a word over against us and our interpretive communities” (p. 91).
One of the issues that Joel is concerned with is balancing the twin concerns of (1) specificity regarding the Word of God at work in communities of faith in their locales and (2) in attending to the first concern avoiding the pitfall of interpretation of the Word with the blinders of one’s own experiences and commitments. Humility and perspective are key here. “In short, the practice of reading Scripture, if it is to be critically engaged, must take seriously a range of conversation partners” (p. 92).
Green continues… “Critically engaged conversation would be:”
1. “Cross-cultural” – Not everyone everywhere thinks and believes and does like us, least of all the cultures of Bible times.
2. “Canonical” – A diversity of [author’s] voices are represented in the books of the Bible, across time, status, education, and culture.
3. “Historical” – We’re not the first people to read Scripture, we stand–knowledgably or unknowledgably–on the shoulders of those who precede us.
4. “Communal” – Scripture’s aim is the formation of a community of faith, so being “biblical” entails reading Scripture with others.
5. “Global” – We easily become myopic in our interpretations of the Bible and need the witness of global church folk who are not like us.
6. “Hospitable” – Even open to the grace of God speaking through those who do not profess faith, knowing that God’s grace does extend to all and that his Word can come to us from surprising quarters.