Sunday, February 11, 2007

Scripture Must be Interpreted

Ideas from Rob Bell's book, "Velvet Elvis":

* Scripture must be interpreted.

For example, the Biblical injunction to "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy". What does that mean exactly? Defined by Genesis, the Sabbath is the seventh day, starting in the evening and going through the night, the next morning, and the next day until the following evening. But in our Western culture, it means the seventh day beginning at just after midnight between Friday and Saturday. Or, to many, it means the first day, as they've come to believe that the Sabbath is now the "Christian Sabbath" of Sunday rather than the seventh day.

But that's not all; in Jesus' day, one scholar might say that walking X meters is okay, but X+1 is work, and therefore forbidden. Another scholar might say that X+1 is acceptable, but X^2 is work.

There's a level of interpretation here as to what constitutes "work", what constitutes "holy", what constitutes "Sabbath", what constitutes "remember".

Even the things we think are obvious are only obvious because of our cultural baggage/lenses, and might not be so obvious to someone else.

And unless you're reading the Bible in the original language, you're relying on someone's interpretation of that language into your language. Here, Rob goes into an interesting discussion of the word gehenna, usually translated into English as hell, but which meant something entirely different to the citizens of Jerusalem in Jesus' day.

Scripture must be interpreted.

No comments: