Evangelicals, Theology, And Biblical Interpretation: Reflections On The Theological Interpretation Of Scripture -- By: Charlie Trim

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 20:3 (NA 2010)
Article: Evangelicals, Theology, And Biblical Interpretation: Reflections On The Theological Interpretation Of Scripture
Author: Charlie Trim


Evangelicals, Theology, And Biblical Interpretation: Reflections On The Theological Interpretation Of Scripture

Charlie Trim

Wheaton College

The theological interpretation of Scripture (TIS) has become very popular in recent years among both biblical scholars and theologians. But this popularity has polarized biblical studies, as some biblical scholars have strongly rejected TIS while others have hailed it as the savior of the moribund historical-critical method. Beyond these contrary assessments of TIS, another key problem in understanding TIS is the diverse (and sometimes contradictory) methods employed by TIS interpreters. This article will study the positive and negative aspects of TIS from the perspective of Evangelical biblical scholarship and propose a spectrum of styles of exegesis showing the range of methodologies in TIS and how they relate with other types of exegesis.

Key Words: theological interpretation of Scriptures, theological commentary, hermeneutics, precritical exegesis, historical criticism, unity of the Bible, diversity of the Bible, presuppositions in interpretation

The theological interpretation of Scripture (TIS) has been gaining popularity recently, giving rise to a variety of articles, books, and commentaries. But TIS has brought as many questions as answers. What is it? How does one interpret the Bible theologically? How does TIS relate to historical criticism? Reading TIS publications quickly reveals that many people are using the TIS label but using it in entirely different ways. And not only is there a plethora of approaches calling themselves TIS, but few seem to be bothered by the diversity. Moreover, Evangelical biblical scholars on the whole have not engaged and responded to TIS and its varying forms.

The thesis of this article is that the rise of TIS should be welcomed by Evangelical biblical scholars, although not every aspect of TIS will be helpful to them. TIS interpreters and Evangelical biblical scholars can have a fruitful reciprocal relationship. The desire of TIS to remind exegetes of the importance of theology is a welcome challenge for Evangelical biblical scholars to reconsider how to integrate theology with exegesis. On the

other hand, Evangelical biblical scholars can encourage TIS interpreters not to overrun the Bible with theology. After a short history of TIS, this article will present the beneficial aspects of TIS for Evangelical biblical scholars, discuss a few potentially unbalanced directions taken by some TIS interpreters, and propose a spectrum showing the range of methodologies in TIS and how they relate with other types of exegesis.

Short History Of TIS

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