Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gerhard on less than ideal exegesis

Every pastor has looked back on sermons in horror to wonder what possessed him to interpret Scripture that way. What happens when you preach or teach something that you later regret as less than A+ exegesis? Gerhard offers comfort repeatedly in his commonplace on interpreting Scripture. Hey, even the fathers did this--a lot. As long as you are not teaching something that undermines the rule of faith it's going to be OK. This is not an excuse for lazy exegesis and lazy preaching but the simple acknowledgement that some things in Scripture are "hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16), even though the main dogmas of heaven (i.e., the rule of faith) are taught in Scripture explicitly and clearly.
We do very well if we use all these means [of interpretation] and finally come to the true sense of Scripture, or, even if we do not arrive at the genuine meaning of a passage, if we still do not err from the rule of faith. Therefore we are not condemned by the passage that Stapleton quotes from Augustine (De Genes. ad. liter., bk. 1, last ch.): “That [interpretation] must especially be chosen which does not go against the context of Scripture and which accords with the sound faith. If, however, one cannot study and examine the context of sacred Scripture, at the least he should alone cling to what the sound faith prescribes.”
If ever we are unable to arrive at the original meaning for the obscurer passages we must not depart from the rule of faith.
(Translation © 2013 Joshua Hayes. All rights reserved.)

No comments:

Post a Comment