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The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture A pretty good read if you like history Otherwise, it can be pretty dull. In , Luther Nailed His Ninety Five Theses To The Door Of Wittenbergs Castle Church Luthers Seemingly Inconsequential Act Ultimately Launched The Reformation, A Movement That Forevertransformed Both The Church And Western Culture The Repositioning Of The Bible As Beginning, Middle, And End Of Christian Faith Was Crucial To The Reformation Two Words Alone Captured This Emphasis On The Bibles Divine Inspiration, Its Abiding Authority, And Its Clarity, Efficacy, And Sufficiency Sola ScripturaIn The Five Centuries Since The Reformation, The Confidence Luther And The Reformers Placed In The Bible Has Slowly Eroded Enlightened Modernity Came To Treat The Bible Like Any Other Text, Subjecting It To A Near Endless Array Of Historical Critical Methods Derived From The Sciences And Philosophy The Result Is That In Many Quarters Of Protestantism Today The Bible As Word Has Ceased To Be The WordIn The Reformation And The Right Reading Of Scripture, Iain Provan Aims To Restore A Reformation Like Confidence In The Bible By Recovering A Reformation Like Reading Strategy To Accomplish These Aims Provan First Acknowledges The Value In The Churchs Precritical Appropriation Of The Bible And, Then, In A Chastened Use Of Modern And Postmodern Critical Methods But Provan Resolutely Returns To The Reformers Affirmation Of The Centrality Of The Literal Sense Of The Text, In The Bibles Original Languages, For A Right Minded Biblical Interpretation In The End The Volume Shows That It Is Possible To Arrive At An Approach To Biblical Interpretation For The Twenty First Century That Does Not Simply Replicate The Protestant Hermeneutics Of The Sixteenth, But Stands In Fundamental Continuity With Them Such Lavish Attention To, And Importance Placed Upon, A Seriously Literal Interpretation Of Scripture Is Appropriate To The Christian Confession Of The Word As Wordthe One Gods Word For The One World I am not a scholar or a theologian, but this is one of the most interesting, thought provoking, and informative books I have read in a while Its called The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture and it does discuss the reformation at some length, however what the book really ends up being is an overview of the history of biblical interpretation and authority from the apostles, to the church fathers, the reformation, to the enlightenment, and on to our current time So if this is what you are into, I would highly recommend it The author heavily quotes the old sources, and it was very fascinating and helpful to read what these ancient Christians and Jews believed about the authority of the scriptures and what exactly they are trying to tell us I appreciated that he doesn t force the reader to take his word for it, but shows them what our Christian forbears believed in their own words.It certainly made me reconsider what I assume the bible is trying to say, and what my definition of a literal reading is His discussions of faith and science are quite interesting I think he makes a strong case that Luther and Calvin certainly would have used critically and judiciously all the current scientific knowledge to help interpret the bible were they living in our time His discussions of the development of the septuagint and other early translations were very enlightening Finally, his discussion of modern methods of interpretation was helpful Especially as he gave some brief examples of how these would be used, so the reader could judge for themselves the validity of the methods. I consider this one of the most important books that I have ever read Some of the important topics that it addresses include What does it mean to read the Bible literally in its Reformation sense How does the NT read the OT What does sola scriptura mean What does perspicuity mean How did the Reformers understand biblical authority vis a vis their predecessors What continuity and discontinuity is there between the early church fathers and the Reformers Is Interpretative pluralism problematic How can critical methodologies be used alongside a commitment to Reformation hermeneutics What is the role of the Holy Spirit in interpretation Should we be trying to maintaining the interpretations of the Reformers What commitment do exegetes have to tradition Should the languages and the ANE be allowed to offer new interpretations What importance do the languages have Are scholars the new elite What is the history and significance of the Septuagint and the Vulgate and much much As you can see, he addresses hermeneutics and OT critical scholarship in particular, but the book is hardly limited to those.He identifies four ways of reading Scripture 1 Historical Criticism modernism 2 Postmodern reading largely reader response 3 The Chicago Constituency ICBH and ICBI most evangelicals 4 Counter Reformational Protestantism Levering et al He carefully parses out the difficulties with each of these and offers a fifth way that he proposes remains faithful to the commitments of the Reformers though not always to their conclusions and synthesizes the strongest points of the other four ways.This is a book that I would dearly love for all of my students to read and absorb Provan is widely read in the whole scope of the subject matter and he writes clearly and persuasively He is committed to Reformation hermeneutics and highly respectful of tradition without idolizing it. As both a pastor and an sociologist, it s important to me that we read the scripture well while also recognizing our own cultural environment It s not wise to analyze it to death reducing the bite of scripture to a nibble John 5 39 40 Nor is it okay for us to spiritualize or otherwise hijack the text to make it mean what we want it to 2 Tim 4 3 Yet, we interpret in our own context so we have to be honest with where we are at Too many books on this topic either long for a better time, or look at the past through modern, judgmental eyes, but Iain s book isn t so pessimistic nor judgmental He has hope that we can learn from the past and chart a future where the eclipse of the biblical narrative isn t the final word Iain s best argument is that the scripture is and always will be perspicuous to those who are serious readers He charts a path from the early church fathers to modern readers that shows their seriousness in regard to scriptural interpretation the same seriousness the biblical authors taught us in the Bible And even though our forbearers after the Apostles, like us, don t live up to their own standards, they indeed had a standard that we can all agree on and live by This standard opens up the scripture to speak powerfully into the lives of anyone, anywhere, especially in a time like Josiah s where the word has been all but completely lost to many of us.Provan s book throttled me It was a page turner to be honest I felt like I was reading something that will later be mandatory for all serious students of the word He is a humble, gracious, and honest writer as he firmly, but fairly, gives air time to a variety of views that he can recommend at times and at other times criticize His book has given me a great appreciation of what our ancestors have had to wrestle with in an attempt to hear God s voice The book is divided into three parts long standing questions, scripture in a changing world, and scripture in a postmodern world It was well organized and the argument actually builds throughout the book rather than simply repeats itself in a variety of forms.I encourage you to read this book and take seriously the word God has for us, a word that frees us to be re made in the image of a good God.

About the Author: Iain Provan

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Reformation and the Right Reading of Scripture book, this is one of the most wanted Iain Provan author readers around the world.

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