Here, for instance, is a passage from James Barr, writing in The Scope and Authority of the Bible (1980), p. 60:
‘Let us put it this way: our view of scripture has been too much dominated by the past. I want to suggest that the functioning of the Bible is much more directed towards the future. It is often said that Christianity is a historical religion, and that is in many ways true, though it is a much more vague and uncertain assertion than is commonly understood; but, if it means that Christianity works in the milieu of human historical experience, that milieu exists not only in the direction of the arrow pointing toward the past but also in the direction pointing towards the future. That Christianity is an eschatological religion, looking towards the future fulfilment of God’s promise to mankind, is just as important as that it is a historical religion looking back to certain foundational events.
‘Now this, if valid, is important for several of the questions we have been discussing. First of all, it is important for the direction of the interpretative process. Everyone knows that the Bible is an ancient book. Much of our interpretative striving has been directed towards the task of making the meaning of that ancient book lucid and relevant for the present day, i.e. you take the past meaning of the Bible and seek to transfer it into the present day, to make it clear, bright and meaningful today. But it is doubtful whether this can be done or whether when done it is as rich in results as one would hope.
'Perhaps we should look in the other direction and say that it is not the Bible that needs to be elucidated for the present day, but the present day that needs to be elucidated in the light of the Bible. The Bible is not a book, reporting on what to it was already past, that has then to be dragged into a much later present: rather, it was a book that, though on a first level narrating the past, on a deeper level was speaking of the future and for the future.’