Do You Know How to Read?

There is a profound difference between reading information and reading texts.  The former permits a disinterest in the question of how the matter is composed; its interest is only in the content…

When people do read today (and they don’t read often), they read almost exclusively for information or content; they almost never read for the pleasure obtained by reading an author whose command of language is exception.  Many ministers, for instance, will read the occasional book about history.  But with few exceptions, the interest in historical writing resides in the events narrated, not in the skillfulness of the narration…

[Modern readers ask what a] passage is about?… but they don’t raise questions about how the passage is constructed.

— T. David Gordon

I have, both anecdotally and formally, observed this to be the case in reference to the Bible.  Most teachers of the Bible are concerned only with the words and principals of the sacred text.  There is little concern for the syntax and grammar.  Word studies abound with no interest in paragraph structure or the flow of discourse.  This sort of textual myopia is further encumbered by a faulty view of much of Scripture regarding the importance of events recorded in the text.  John Sailhamer has been influential in cogently explaining the necessity of viewing the intentionally constructed text of Scripture in its final form as the only element worth interpreting.  Whatever so-called “event” might “lie behind” the inspired text is of no importance to the Christian interpreter.  Rather, one must spend their time understanding how the text of Scripture is intentionally constructed to communicate a message.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s