Interpretive assumptions – ancient and evangelical (Bailey)

Scott Bailey:

. . . In his book How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now James Kugel offers four assumptions of ancient interpreters:

  1. They assumed the Bible was fundamentally a cryptic text
  2. They assumed the Bible was a book of lessons directed to readers in their own day
  3. They assumed the Bible contained no contradictions or mistakes
  4. They believed the entire Bible was essentially a divinely given text

. . . . these assumptions have come down from antiquity to many modern Christians except for one: assuming that the Bible is a fundamentally cryptic text. Instead, for modern Christians the belief that the Bible is simple dominates, so a “plain” reading of Scripture is favored in a lot of circles. Therefore, I would posit that the four interpretive assumptions of many modern evangelical Christians look something like this:

  1. They assume the Bible is fundamentally a simple text easy to understand by the Holy Spirit
  2. They assume the Bible is a book of lessons directed to them
  3. They assume the Bible contains no contradictions or mistakes
  4. They believe the entire Bible is essentially a divinely given text in its canonical form
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