There is a danger that discussions about the authority of Scripture may turn into exercises in exegetical casuistry. We can use Scripture the way lawyers use case precedents either to vindicate or convict a defendant. The focus of concern can become: What can I get away with? What meaning will the text bear? Can it be read to further my cause? A “minimalist” interpretation of Scripture can be as guilty of this as is a Puritan tendency toward “maximalism.” There is a danger of focusing on the texts as documents, and for-getting that the Scriptures are not self-referential. They speak of a reality beyond them-selves—namely God’s creation and redemption of the world and humanity in Jesus Christ. The purpose of exegesis is not only to decipher the grammatical meaning of the text or to find precedents for permissible or impermissible behavior, but to allow oneself to be formed and transformed by the reality to which the Scriptures refer so that one can find oneself within the Bible’s story of creation and redemption. But in order to do this, one must be willing to hand oneself over to the world of the text, to allow oneself to be challenged and even changed by it.
From an important exchange by Dr. Bill Witt.
Read the whole thing here. [Editor’s note: this link is broken. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.]