The Bible is not a Chilton’s auto repair manual  (because we are not machines) if it were we would have far fewer differences among scholars concerning interpretation. The Bible is a heavily nuanced collection of inspired text. Because it is not a mere instruction manual we should be familiar with the following spaces that we read the Bible in. We cannot free ourselves from these spaces no more than a fish can free itself from the reality that its life is in the water. Though we cannot remove ourselves from the following realities we can honestly acknowledge them and from that find a less myopic and more robust conversation. The following is my way of working these spaces out. I’m interested in your thoughts. bible speaks

  1. The “Reader” space or reality: Who do I think I am? Everybody thinks they are somebody.
    • Who I think I am has changed over the years. This has also affected my Biblical interpretation. For example I used to think of my free will from a more libertarian philosophy. Now I would consider myself more of a compatibilists or soft determinist.
  2. The “Reader to Author” space or reality: Who do I already think Paul, Peter, John etc are? Perhaps even more important…Who do I already think God is? Everybody has an opinion or preconceived idea of everyone they meet.
    • I honestly thought (when I was younger) for example that the voice of my conscience was the Holy Spirit. That had a tremendous effect on how and why I read scripture.
  3. The “Pseudo Transcendent” space or reality: What do I already think God thinks about me or who do I think God thinks I am?
    • I was raised with a firm belief that God was almost like some kind of thought cop. Combine that with guilt and I had a pretty simple and poor image of God that I was taking into my Bible reading/listening.
  4. The “God/Author” space or reality: Who does God already know he is? God knows who he is regardless of what we think or understand Him to be. He exists outside of our opinions. Who does the human author of the text already think they are?
    • I remember explaining the Trinity as if I had figured it out (clover, egg, light, etc) and it was my job to make it clear for God. Now I explain it understanding the huge amount of mystery involved in the nature of God.
  5. The “True Transcendent” space or reality: What does God think of me? What does the human author of the text think of those who they are writing to?
    • I do not believe that we can truly fathom or understand this completely in this life.
  6. The “Author as Reader” Who does  God already know I am?
    • I cannot wait to meet and be with God so that he can bring me to the understanding of who I really am. Who I was made to be. Right now I often look in the mirror and think “who am I?”