Seeing What You Want. Not Seeing What You Don’t Know.

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I’ve been in the process of Teaching/Coaching in an Introduction to Hermeneutics class for my ministry.  It’s been fun and I’ve been thinking tons about meaning.

But here’s a great quote from one of my former professors Jeannine Brown in her book called Scripture as Communication,

“As one writer has put it,  readers of Scripture are to be self-suspicious. We should not suppose  that we always “get it right” in our interpretations. In fact, we should expect to be confronted regularly by new, and not always comfortable,   truth as we read. As one of my colleagues notes, we need to be ready to hear the iconoclastic messages of the Bible.” (Kindle Verson, Loc 1448-51)

There’s two ways we undermine the process of getting at meaning when reading the Bible (or reading some other things maybe do). First is the baggage of our own culture that we unconsciously project onto something else.  We should always know we bring our own culture into reading the Bible.  Some of us sometimes forget we have a culture, but we all have one and we’re all affected by it when we’re trying to understand and know. Second, we can screw up our understanding and knowing by projecting onto the Bible or other things what we want it to mean.

So sometimes we see what we want to see.  Other times we don’t see what we can’t see.  Either way – we’re often not seeing what we’re supposed to see or what there is to see.

Love C.S. Lewis’s quote in Reflections on the Psalms,

“Almost anything can be read into any book  if you are determined enough.”

We should always seek for humility and honesty about ourselves when we dive into the Scriptures (and also when we dive into other cultures too).

How do you stay humble and honest in this way?


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