What is the Church of England’s problem with the Bible?

Apr 30, 2019 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

There were two interesting articles in the Church Times last week which illustrated well some of the challenges for the church of reading the Bible. The longer one was an interview with John Barton, former professor at the University of Oxford, following the publication earlier in the year of his book A History of the Bible.

At the launch, he explained that his thesis in the book was that “the relation of religion to book is not direct. Problems arise when this is ignored, as the history of interpretation of the Bible so often illustrates.”

This ‘indirectness’ is crucial, and the failure to recognise this is a feature of a range of ‘naive’ approaches to Scripture which treat the text as though it was written in a world like ours. In fact, the world of the human authors of the different parts of Scripture was in some regards very different to the world in which we live, and factoring this in is always an essential part of reading Scripture well. This is amply illustrated by an article a couple of pages earlier, by Ted Harrison, on ‘Divine Numerology’. Harrison points out that the 153 fish caught in John 21 would have a significance in the first century that means nothing to us:

Read here


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