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Avoiding Self-Centered Hermeneutics

Rachel Held Evans has an interesting post on the way we tend to interpret the Bible differently based on our vested interests.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. We tend to interpret everything according to our vested interests. It’s no surprise that we do the same thing with the Bible. In churches, we tend to hear texts in ways that support our traditions. That, again, is not surprising. We are much more likely to interpret the Bible in ways that mean that we haven’t been wrong for generations.

How do we avoid this?

Well, I doubt we can completely avoid it. We can be aware of it. We can try to correct for it. We can do our best to examine our beliefs and our behavior openly. That’s better than not doing so. But we won’t become truly objective.

What I have suggested, and what I try to practice, is to always read any Bible passage first looking for things that correct and convict me. Only after I’ve aimed a Bible passage at myself can I aim it at others, if then.

Of course, I’m far from perfect. Even as I’m writing this I can think of people I wish would pay more attention to this issue.

And so it goes …

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