Thursday, April 29, 2010

I like what Walter Kaiser says. I think I'm wholeheartedly committed to this viewpoint.

He summarizes his view that there is only ONE meaning in Scripture and it is the meaning that the A/author (my way of saying both the human author and the divine Author) intended in some helpful axioms.

1. God’s meaning and revelatory-intention in any passage of Scripture may be accurately and confidently ascertained only by studying the verbal meanings of the divinely delegated and inspired human writers (138)

2. Only one verbal meaning is to be connected with any passage of Scripture unless the writer of the text gives literary and contextual clues that he has several aims in view for this exceptional passage (e.g., the two or three questions asked at the beginning of the Olivet discourse (138).

3. That single, original verbal meaning of the human author may be ascertained by heeding the usual literary conventions of history, culture, grammar, syntax, and accumulated theological context. And if it cannot be ascertained by THESE means then it cannot be ascertained at all (138).

4. This authorial meaning can be understood by all readers who will allow the writer to first say what he wants to say without introducing conservative or liberal prejudices as a preunderstanding (138).

5. The personal impact, significance, application, reception, and value this text has for particular individuals or situations is directly linked to the illuminating ministry of the HOly Spirit. The Spirit takes the single truth-intention of the author and in His convicting, comforting, teaching, and motivating power urges us to apply the principle taught in this text to scores of different situations (138).

And then he wisely concludes:
“Nowhere, then, does Scripture support the view that the Bible has a multi-track concept of meanings. If the human author did NOT receive by revelation the meaning in question, then exegetes and readers have no right to identify their meanings with God. Only by following the careful distinctions set forth in the authorial autonomy view can the Word of God be preserved for future generations and be handled as what it is indeed—the powerful and authoritative Word from God” (141).
Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. “The Single Intent of Scripture.” In Evangelical Roots: A Tribute to Wilbur Smith. Edited by Kenneth S. Kantzer, 123–41. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978.


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