Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Handling the Word of God

Hermeneutics, the art and science of interpretation, sounds to many like a horribly dusty affair. And of course, some have handled the subject along these lines. This is not how it should be; when the question of how a text is to be interpreted arises, we should feel a leaden weight in the gut, and adrenaline in the veins, as men feel before a battle. Of course we need to pay sound attention to our texts—but not as the scribes.

How we handle the Word of God has eternal consequences. If we trifle with the text, we are risking our own eternal salvation. Peter spoke of hermeneutics as a life and death issue; he noted that ignorant and unstable people twist the Scriptures, and that they do so to their own destruction. The word he used to describe the twisting is a word out of ancient torture chambers. The plain meaning of the text is put to the rack, and bizarre confessions are coerced from it. And unfortunately, to this day, when many self-appointed interpreters turn to their text, torture and mayhem are in the air.
Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk, pg. 199.

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