I commend to all Fr. Haller’s thoughtful reflection on Scripture and its interpretation.
I have quite a lot to say on this topic that I cannot write now. Thus, let me leave you with just a few teaser thoughts:
- The point of the Christian faith as I understand it is to participate within the community of those invited into the interior life of the Triune God. As a result, one of the key factors here is relationships. We as individuals are in a relationship with God and are also in a relationship with a community. The Scriptures are one record of one part of that relationship and the community as a whole has privileged them as an essential and sufficient record. A record is not a relationship, however.
- At the root of the faith is the relationship between God and “his people”–variously identified as those God has called into relationship with himself. As a result, history itself is a key factor. However, we have no access to the history. We have a written record which means that what is normative amongst us is a document which describes, among other things, history which reveals the on-going character of the relationship between God and his people. A document, while it may be historical, is not a direct window into history.
- I think it’s important to constantly remind ourselves what Scripture says about itself in one of its most beleaguered and put-upon sets of verses: 2 Timothy 3:14-17 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Hmmm. From this one might suspect that the purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal the character of the relationship between God and humanity and from there to direct what character a Christian ought to be forming. And that seems to me to be both quite a bit more and quite a bit less than what others often use these verses to claim.