Methodological Proposals for Scripture Relevance Part 1: Selected Issues in Theoretical Hermeneutics -- By: Ramesh P. Richard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 143:569 (Jan 1986)
Article: Methodological Proposals for Scripture Relevance Part 1: Selected Issues in Theoretical Hermeneutics
Author: Ramesh P. Richard


Methodological Proposals for Scripture Relevance
Part 1:
Selected Issues in Theoretical Hermeneutics

Ramesh P. Richard

[Ramesh P. Richard, Pulpit Pastor, Delhi Bible Fellowship, New Delhi, India]

Christians must continuously perform the wedding of truth and the relevance of truth. Yet some believers sacrifice truth on the altar of relevance, while others isolate truth in a prison of irrelevance. Christians need to preserve the content of Scripture while probing its relevance to life; to be biblically based and sociologically sensitive; to be epistemologically faithful and missiologically forceful; to be right and relevant.

In marrying truth and relevance, the all-important matter to be settled “prenuptially” is the issue of the nature of Scripture. Because the Bible is God’s communication, authority derives from the Bible’s essential nature, not from its function or purpose or from one’s perception of its relevancy.1 However, Christians recognize it not only as authority (in its essence) but also as authoritative (in their existence). Yet that recognition does not exempt believers from the problem of relating the Scriptures to modern man.

Once biblical authority is accepted, numerous questions arise. For example, how does one bridge the temporal, historical, and cultural gaps between the Scriptures and today? How does one bridge the gaps that seem to exist between the first and last pages of the Bible itself? How does one relate the directives to the nation Israel to the international situation of the present believing community? Is the Bible automatically relevant because it is man’s authority? How does one go beyond a study of the content, history, events, trends, culture, philosophy, language, and literature of the

Bible to applying Scripture accurately; that is, how can Scripture actually be authoritative today? These and similar questions prompted O’Donovan to remark, “Behind the crisis of authority there lurks a crisis of Biblical interpretation; which means that those who proclaim their respect for the Bible still cannot decide how it should be used in moral discussion.”2 Bright concurs, “If the Bible is to be normative in matters of faith and practice, it must be the Bible rightly interpreted.”3

In this series of articles, the author attempts to address these issues and to propose ways to handle the perennial problem of Scripture relevance. Though the emphases may be abstract and theoretical, they arise from practical and homiletical needs. This and t...

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