Grasping God’s Word Assignment 10-2
Scripture is not the only means of knowing what God is saying
From a Christian perspective, meaning and interpretation are ultimately grounded in all God’s communicative action in creation, in the Scriptures, and pre-eminently in Christ. For those who know God, just having the bible on its own is not enough. We also desire to know Him intimately in the Spirit.
The great thing about having the Scriptures is that, used correctly, they are not as subjective as our personal experience of Christ can be. Reading and understanding what the Scriptures say about God is a great way of checking our personal experience, of validating the genuineness of our faith.
If you then add to that a right understanding of, and connection with, His creation you have a threefold strand which cannot easily be broken (Eccles. 4:12). The ultimate and best expression of God’s creation is in mankind. In particular the bonds and modes of behaviour that we call good and which to some extent are in all mankind, communicate to us what God is like. For example the right relationship of a parent with a child and husband with wife and vice versa help us to understand what God is like and how He loves us.
The ultimate right connection for any believer with God’s creation is to be part of a community with others who know Him in the Spirit and where His Word is preached by godly men and women, i.e. His Church. In the Church is combined the best of God’s creation, godly exposition and presentation of the Scriptures and the image of Christ who is its Head and of whom the Church is His Body (see also my post on the Three Pillars).
Local expressions on this earth of His Church can be quite a mixture of the earthly and the divine and don’t always live up to this exalted view of the Church. But, hey, what do you expect on this earth. In Heaven She will be revealed in a different light.
Duval & Hays have this very helpful thing to say about the importance of communication when reading the Scripture:
“The issue of communication … lies at the heart of one’s decision about how to interpret a text. If you, the reader, see the text as a communication between the author and yourself, then you should search for the meaning that the author intended. If, however, you as the reader do not care to communicate with the author, then you are free to follow reader response and interpret the text without asking what the author meant. In some cases, however, there may be negative consequences for such a reading.”