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In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441


VAN DER WALT, B.J.. Problems in interpreting the Bible in reformed theology: A Christian-philosophical reflection. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.43, n.1, pp.1-30. ISSN 2305-0853.

It is becoming evident that previous convictions about the nature of the Bible as well as the ways in which it should be interpreted, are not convincing anymore. The resulting uncertainty is causing division and tension among reformed theologies and churches in South Africa. This Christian-philosophical reflection intends to help clarify some of the issues. A previous article (cf. Van der Walt, 2008d) was focused mainly on a view of Scripture itself, while the present article concentrates on its interpretation. However, to be able to read the Bible correctly, one has to know exactly what kind of book it is - how it is qualified. The first main section, therefore, discusses what it means to view the Bible as a book of faith. The following section provides an overview of the traditional hermeneutical methods, including the most popular among reformed scholars. In the third part attention is given to the "hermeneutical revolution" since the last part of the previous century. Since not only the ancient Bible text, but also the present-day reader are regarded as important today, one's worldview and philosophy have become vital determining elements in reading Scripture. The last section, therefore, discusses the relationship between worldview and exegesis. As one's worldview influences one's exegesis, one can not deny or try to hide one's worldviewish presuppositions. At the same time, however, one should be aware of the dangers associated with a Christian worldview. Thus, a few criteria forjudging the correctness of a worldview will be mentioned in conclusion.

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