“… when we interpret the Bible according to good hermeneutical principles, we will derive maximum benefit from our reading of the Bible.”
Commenting on the fruit of good hermeneutics, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation notes nine areas that are affected:
- To gain information and understanding
- To worship
- To create liturgy
- To formulate theology
- To preach
- To teach
- To provide pastoral care
- For spiritual formation in the Christian life
- For aesthetic enjoyment
Most of these will probably make obvious sense to Christians. What caught my eye was number nine – aesthetic enjoyment. What does this exactly mean?
“In addition to all its other virtues, the Bible delights the people of God. Its pages brim with adventure, humor, and pageantry. It is a book of aesthetic beauty. Surely, God gave us this marvelous message to enjoy! God’s message has come to us in various assorted literary qualities and genius. Though we do not limit the value of the Bible to being great literature, many people appropriately acknowledge the “Bible as literature” and expound its literary excellence. People savor the artful narrative of the intrigues of Joseph and his borthers, and they admire Nathan’s cunningly simple parable to King David. They appreciate the masterful poetry in the Psalms and delight in the parables of Jesus. The Bible’s diverse literature – OT epics, strange apocalyptic prophecy, tightly reasoned epistles, the skillful sustained argumentation in Hebrews – inspires and captures our interest. The Book itself arouses intellectual and emotional enjoyment. It invites us to appreciate its multifaceted beauty. But above that, the Bible’s beauty and the pleasure it promotes reflects the beauty and personality of the God who inspired it. Its beauty sings his praises justa s the stars and planets do (Psa 19)” (p. 475, emphasis authors).
Yes, I agree that Scripture is aesthetically enjoyable, and I also appreciate that it is not all that it is!