Conservative Theology

Is Scripture the Norm, or Do Our Readings Reflect Other Norms


Ancient Hebrew Poetry has a great post about reading scripture.  The point as a whole is that (a) we always read scripture in the light of our existing cultural norms, and we can't get away from that, but (b) we should always be allowing our cultural norms to be informed by and judged by scripture.

The two poles that are often setup for us are:

  1. that the Bible is God's word and its teaching perfect and infallible, just what God intended, or
  2. the Bible is imperfect and fallible - except for the parts we like based on some external criterion
The problem with this dichotomy is that we have a basic trust of scripture, but our understanding of it is always colored by our culture.  John goes on to say:

But the really important thing is that Augustine sees Scripture as norma normans (the norm that norms all other norms) which nevertheless gives rise to norma normata (norms normed by it and derived from it, such as the Nicene Creed) which in turn serve to focus and provide criteria for the interpretation of the norm.

So, imposing an exterior hermeneutical criteria is not necessarily anti-scriptural, so long as that hermeneutic is itself open to revision from scripture.