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  • Writer's pictureScott Carr, Jr.

My Process of Interpretation

In interpreting Scripture, I am not as adverse to allegory as many in the Reformed tradition. When I read Scripture, I consider Christ's words on the road to Emmaus, "He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (Luke 24:27). With that said, I don't begin reading Scripture looking for allegory. Any recognition of how a text points to Christ has to take seriously the literal sense of a passage and be grounded by what the author actually said. I usually begin studying a text with a commentary or study Bible that provides an introduction to the history of the text, what problems the author was addressing, and the cultural context that birthed the text. Then I work through a passage asking both how it develops the thought or narrative of the book and how it relates to Scripture's overarching narrative of God's redemption. After I have answered both of those questions, I then ask how what the text says points forward or back to Christ.

I also do not interpret a text alone. I love church history and so make sure to read comments on the text from important figures in the history from the church as aids to my exegesis. I find these comments help me see details I had not noticed in the text myself and also help me see Christ more clearly in the text. At times, I also find some of their comments frustrating which drives me back to the passage to wrestle with it again and compare the words of the fathers to Scripture.

Growing up as middle-class suburban and having access to education, I developed a great love of academia. As a result, I've found that any kind of interpretation I do leads me to want to read more books, have access to more points of view, and prizes the life of the mind. Learning the context of a passage and seeking for Christ in a passage with the aid of historic commentaries is easy for me. What I find challenging is bringing the text home, working it into my affections and learning how to be more obedient to it. I would be content to keep the text in my head and never work it down into my heart. For me, the process of praying through a text and learning how to apply it to my life is what takes the most work for me.

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