People are not topics: a problem in biblical interpretation

I’m not sure about “re-blogging etiquette”…but I have often thought you are not meant to repost another’s blog until you have some huge following…or that it’s not deemed “worth it” until such time, maybe?? However, I’ve decided to just stay blissfully ignorant on the protocol of this and do what my heard leads. I am relatively new to blogging but I’m loving it and fast becoming passionate about my writing as well as reading other people’s. I thought this was written really well and very relevant for Christians and the church today! Hope it stirs your mind and touches your heart…..

slouching towards emmaus

In an article from several years back, Cynthia Briggs Kitteredge paid a thoughtful compliment to feminist interpreters of Scripture: “They understand women as historical agents who contributed to the formation of early communities of Christ-believers, rather than as ‘topics’ addressed by biblical writers.” [1]

Embedded in this compliment is a challenge to how, at least in my experience, we generally interpret the Bible. We tend to abstract “topics” from what were concrete struggles between flesh-and-blood people, and interpret where a certain author may or may not have “landed” on a specific “topic” from his or her writing.

My concern is that we go to Scripture looking for guidance on “topics,” be it the role of women in the assembly, household structures, the role of elders in the church, or even the big scary bugaboos of our day like gay marriage. We want to draw a line between the “topic” addressed…

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