Kevin Vanhoozer on reading the Bible in and with the church

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“The church is the community dedicated to discovering the Bible’s meaning and to attesting its continuing significance.  It is, above all, the significance of Scripture that cannot be discerned apart from the receiving, believing community.  While biblical scholars can write commentaries about ‘what it meant,’ it takes the congregation – a living commentary – to display ‘what it means.’  The interpreting community does therefore have an important hermeneutic role, but…it is not that of producing but witnessing to meaning.”

“The church should be that community of readers whose hearts, minds, and imaginations are open to receive what is there in the text and who strive to embody it – the story, the promises, the commands, the law – in new contexts.”

“The testimony of the Spirit is not only to individuals but primarily to the church as a whole.  Yet the church is not the judge that arbitrates interpretive conflict so much as the permanent witness to Scripture’s meaning and significance.  …The Reformers had earlier likened the church to a schoolroom, in which believers become competent in the Christian way.  What Christians study in Scripture is God’s interpretation of reality, summed up in the story of Jesus Christ.  Christians, then, have a schoolroom (the church), a subject (the way of Jesus Christ), and a teacher (the Spirit).  And yes, there is a text in this class.”

– Kevin Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in this Text, p. 430

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