Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hermeneutics as Spiritual Warfare

A friend passes along this excerpt from the epilogue of Graeme Goldsworthy's new book, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Biblical-theological Foundations and Principles, published by IVP-UK. (The US version is due out in March 2007 by Inter-Varsity Press.)
Hermeneutics is about reading God’s words with understanding so that we might be conformed more and more to the image of Christ. Whatever the role of the intellect in hermeneutics, it is still a spiritual discipline. We can go further and remind ourselves that any spiritual discipline is characterized by spiritual warfare. We are not engaged in Trivial Pursuit or in solving lateral thinking problems in order to feel some sense of satisfaction if we can come up with acceptable answers to various questions and problems. That is why biblical interpretation must be seen as the spiritual struggle that it is. The New Testament describes our warfare in many ways, one of which is in Paul’s exhortation, ‘Put to death therefore what is earthly in you’ (Col. 3:5), followed by the instruction, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly’ (Col. 3:16). Furthermore, it is not only the sinfulness within us that is the problem, for the Bible makes clear that the goal of the great deceiver himself is to seduce us to worship the beast (Rev. 13:14). Resistance to this assault requires endurance and confidence in the saving power of him who has written the names of his own people in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 13:8; 14:12).

(HT: Scott Anderson)