On putting the word “biblical” in front of our arguments – e.g. ‘biblical’ womanhood or economics

. . . I tend to bristle whenever I attend a conference in which lectures are entitled "The Biblical View of Courtship" or "A Biblical Approach to the Environment." Sticking the word "biblical" in front of a noun like "manhood" or "womanhood" or "economics" or "stewardship" or "politics" adds an element of gravitas to one’s argument, but it diminishes the variety and complexity of the very words of Scripture one seeks to elevate. It implies that the Bible’s cacophony of voices can be reduced to single tone, its rich stories and characters summarized in a single line, its paradox and contradiction ignored or brushed aside. It suggests that just one interpretation exists…or that the speaker’s interpretation is the only one that counts.

We often use the Bible as an adjective without even thinking about it. For years, I bragged about having a "biblical worldview," without regard to the massive assumptions such a statement makes about the Bible’s cultural context as well as my own . . .

. . . "Am I using the Bible to end a conversation or to begin one?" or better yet, "Am I really trying to align myself with the Bible or am I trying to align the Bible with me?" . . .

-Read Rachel Evans (on Jesus Creed) for more

John Goldingay puts it this way:

The use of scriptural terminology does not guarantee that one’s thinking is in accordance with scripture, as the Arians famously showed. Conversely, doctrinial thinking does not have to confine itself ot scriptural terms in order to be scriptural—other wise there would be no orthodox doctrine of the “Trinity.” (Models for Scripture, 1994, p. 4.)

One thought on “On putting the word “biblical” in front of our arguments – e.g. ‘biblical’ womanhood or economics

  1. […] for example, a dichotomy between “what works” and what is “biblical” (note a previous post about putting “biblical” in front of our arguments.) The more I learn about the cultural contexts that Acts and the letters of Paul were written in, […]

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