Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Refreshing Dose of Biblical Faithfulness

In preparing to preach through the Gospel of John, I am reading the background material in numerous commentaries and reference volumes. Thus far, I have been blessed beyond measure by the massive volume in Baker Exegetical Commentary series written by Southeastern Seminary's Andreas Kostenberger. In his background material, he offers this refreshing dose of biblical faithfulness:

"The present commentary is written in the conviction that although presuppositionless exegesis is an illusion, presuppositions do not necessarily preclude the kind of engagement with the biblical text by which the interpreter's understanding may be corrected by the scriptural message (Osborne 1991). What is more, an active, born-again faith in Jesus Christ as Lord is unashamedly acknowledged as the vantage point from which exegesis is undertaken (Schlatter, in Neuer 1996:211-25). Rather than being a liability, this faith--together with the enabling work of the Holy Spirit in interpretation, if tempered with humility, exegetical work, and openness to the findings of others--can be a great strength."

Often, when one reads academic works on biblical texts, there is a subtle assumption that the opinions of critical, liberal, and even unbelieving scholars is more credible because it is supposedly "unbiased." Kostenberger rightly calls this fallacy as it is, noting that there is no such thing as "presuppositionless exegesis." Why then should the presuppositions of those who have no spiritual regard for the text be considered superior? I am so blessed to read these words of Kostenberger, whose academic prowess takes a backseat to no one, insisting that priority should perhaps be granted instead to the one who possesses a "born-again faith in Jesus Christ as Lord," and who is enabled in the task of interpretation by the indwelling Holy Spirit (the ultimate author and inspirer of the text).  

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