A “Plain Sense” of Reading a Text is Still an Interpretation

This weekend I’m reading the new counterpoints book The Role of Works at the Final Judgment. From what I’ve read so far it is really good. I loved this paragraph from James D.G. Dunn:

“Some people find it hard to accept that their reading of a text is an interpretation of the text. They may think and claim that their understanding of the text accords with the ‘plain sense’ of the text. But they do need to acknowledge that what they take the text to mean is an interpretation, an interpretation that has to be justified. The debates about the authority of Scripture are never going to be finally resolved by arguing about its inspiration. The actual authority of Scripture¬†depends on its interpretation. And when conclusions about a particular text are then applied to or enforced on other Scriptures, the responsibility to justify the procedure is even greater. Are the various texts speaking the same language? Are they theologizing in the same way? Is one chalk and the other cheese? If they are singing even slightly different tunes, do they harmonize quite so readily.” (57-58)

There’s wisdom here that should be heeded.

Role of Works

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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