COMMENTARY: Dispatches from the Wondrous, Terrifying World of Bible Scholarship

I (Still) Believe compiles brief autobiographical accounts from prominent scholars who (still!) believe in the God of the ancient texts they study and teach. These distinguished exegetes not only still believe, as if the best one can hope for after a lifetime of serious biblical study is a threadbare retention of Christian faith. Even better, their stories offer examples of what happens when one chooses to dwell believingly, decade after decade, within the wondrous yet terrifying world of Scripture. Though the Word of God is like a reviving breath that rattles dry bone piles and re-pieces them into living armies, biblical writers also liken it to a hammer that shatters rock, to an uncontrollable fire, to a blade sharpened to surgical precision. Persistent engagement with the revelatory words of God makes for a life of joy—but also a life of wounds.

For these essayists, the wounds in question haven’t come from losing faith, but from embracing it. Brokenness and pain are universal on this side of Eden’s barred gates, and a number of these scholars recount times when God revealed himself as one who gives but also takes way. (The reflections from John Goldingay and Walter Moberly stand out in this regard).

Interesting article. I found this paragraph intriguing:

In spite of Aunt Martha’s prayers, I now find myself spending more time writing academic papers and preparing lectures on New Testament Greek than visiting parishioners in the hospital, officiating funerals, or teaching Wednesday night Bible studies. I admit that some of my grandmother’s misgivings are proving true. Contemporary biblical scholarship can sometimes promote, in Gaventa’s words, an “ethos of self-promotion” and an “agonistic culture that undermines genuine learning.” As Edith Humphrey points out, there is constant professional pressure “to be recognized as clever, or novel, or seminal.”

Question for our Protestant brothers and sisters. Has the constant drumbeat of Scripture study in our ‘enlightened’ age produced more ‘scholars’ than pastors?
I saw this myself years ago at a small rural Baptist church. The pastor was in Seminary to get his masters degree. Over time his sermons became more ‘scholarly’ for the small rural farm community he was in.
Jesus never gave deep theological sermons.

Interesting. I’m reminded of a quote from a Scottish preacher that I read in a homiletics textbook that I had years ago, something like, “Every sermon should either start in Jerusalem and end in Aberdeen, or start in Aberdeen and end in Jerusalem.”

It would appear that some “scholarly” preachers have never read that.

I’m surprised this thread hasn’t gotten much traction.
Let me take it a step further.
Is this an indirect result of Sola Scriptura?

I could see it. When one’s authority comes from a single source, one tends to emphasize the study of that single source.

On the other hand, I’ve seen some amazing ignorance of basic Bible facts on these forums.

When a Protestant pursues biblical study, and sees that there wasn’t a bible for almost the first 400 years of the Church, yeah, that changes their argument for sola scriptura.

Then when they see how the bible was assembled, and who assembled it, it takes THAT argument against the Catholic Church away too.

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