Project Augustine

Chapter 3: “The Authority of Scripture”

  1. In page 45, Migliore writes about the effects the Enlightenment had on Western culture on its views upon authority.  There’s a conflict, that is still  prevalent today, where “every claim to authority has had to justify itself before the bar of autonomous reason.”  All claims of authority come under the scrutiny of critical reason.  Do you see this in your personal life?  How has this modern worldview affected you or your faith in any way?

  2. Do you consider the Bible to be an authority in your life?  In your morals?  In your daily life?  How is it an authority in your life?

  3. On page 47, he writes about “Inadequate Approaches to the Authority of Scripture”.  He cites the Biblicist view, Scripture as a historical source, the Bible as a religious classic, and the Bible as a private devotional.  Do you fit into any of these categories?  Have you adopted one or more approaches in the past?  Have you changed your views?  If so, what prompted the change?

  4. Migliore writes about an important distinction most Christians are not aware about when it comes to approaching the Bible.  On page 50 – 51 he writes that “Christians do not believe in the Bible; they believe in the living God attested by the Bible.”  And he goes on to describe how other theologians, such as Barth, say that the Bible only is there to point to Christ (as a witness), that’s where its authority lies, not that it points to itself.  What are your thoughts on this?  Has this run in your mind before?

  5. On page 53, he writes that “Scripture should be interpreted with historical and literary sensitivity” and that “the faith of the church does not stand or fall with the accuracy of every detail of the gospel story… but faith does stand or fall with the truthfulness of the gospel portrayal of the [life] of Christ.”  Is your faith affected by the Bible “having” to be historically accurate?  Does it affect your faith to find out that some events might have been put in for rhetorical or illustrative purposes?  Or that the Bible has been derived from other ANE sources, like from Egypt, Babylon, and other Canaanite sources?
    1. On page 54 he writes something interesting, “If we are embarrassed by the humanity of the human writers, we are also probably embarrassed by the humanity of Jesus… and by our own humanity.”

  6. On pages 56 – 57, he writes about how Scripture must be interpreted theocentrically and if so then necessarily christocentrically in that Christ’s life if the key to interpreting all of Scripture.  Do you agree with this statement?  Do you really see Christ in all of Scripture – even in the Old Testament?  What strengths and weaknesses do you see in this approach?  What other ways have you interpreted the Bible in your own life?

  7. On page 61, where he writes “Scripture must be interpreted contextually;…” he states that “it is imperative that we listen carefully to interpretations of Scripture by Christians different from our own.  We must remain open to the freedom of the Spirit who sheds new light on Scripture… we must be open to new and disturbing readings of Scripture.  No single interpretation of Scripture exhausts its message.  All are in need of deepening and correction.” How do you feel about this statement?  Do you feel threatened if an “unorthodox” interpretation of Scripture pops up and makes you question your understanding of the Bible, God, or your beliefs?  Do you fear that the authority of Scripture may be undermined because of new interpretations?

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