More brilliant comments on last week's post - thank you!
One way to think about what I am trying to push for is expressed in this (albeit somewhat triumphalist - or "mock ironical" triumphalist) Tweet:
Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS) is winning.— Patrick Schreiner ☧ (@pj_schreiner) March 13, 2022
That's it. That's the tweet.
Scripture generates theology (our response to what we read, our understanding of what we read, with "our" invoking the church reading Scripture rather than "my" reading which might lead to "private interpretation.") and theology influences how we read Scripture. Hopefully this is a virtuous rather than vicious circle!
A lovely example in practice occurred this weekend where the readings set down for me to preach on were:
The Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke) is connected to our transfiguration (our lowly bodies becoming bodies of glory, Philippians).
Yet, somewhat trickily, from any kind of "neat" biblical textual connection perspective:
- Luke does not use the lovely Greek word for transfiguration which Mark and Matthew use (in English, metamorphosis);
- in any case, Paul in Philippians uses a different Greek word for the transfiguration he is talking about (metaschematisei).
Some theology (building on themes of glory in both passages, including Matthew and Mark as voices in the reading of Luke) is required to say (as I the preacher said), our transfiguration is connected to Jesus' transfiguration.
Then: relating Philippians to some aspects of current life, I made two further points, from 3:17 and 3:20 - points which involve some theological reflection as well as reading out the words of the text.
On 3:17: there are some Christian examples we should not follow (e.g. very difficult to follow the example of Patriarch Kirill at the moment), so how do we apply this verse to our lives and the question of whose lives we model our lives on. In short, my proposal was that we follow those whose lives demonstrate the influence of the whole of the New Testament on them.
On 3:20: picking up a cue from a great footnote in my New Oxford Annotated Bible, "our citizenship in heaven" means we should not give any ultimate allegiance, in politics or otherwise, to any human figure or hero.
To say the latter in a sermon (which is pretty unremarkable and I imagine most preachers would say something along those lines, though maybe not in Trumpian on Putinian churches) is a theological interpretation of what Paul writes about our heavenly citizenship.
In some ways, the significance of what I am discussing here is about our willingness to acknowledge the role theology plays in all reading (and preaching) of Scripture.