Jul 10, 2010

Interesting Approach to Writing a Commentary

Ruth Anne Reese, in her commentary on 2 Peter and Jude writes:

“Many commentaries are available on both of these books, each with its own emphasis. This commentary is unique because it seeks to bring together exegesis and theology in a partnership that illuminates the epistles under consideration and the process of interpretation itself. Human beings are creatures of intellect, emotion, and experience; the process of studying Scripture should speak to all three. The studies we undertake together in this volume can draw on the following metaphor: exegesis, theology, and communities of faith are joining hands in a dancing circle around the Trinity. These children dance, and their hands break apart to welcome others into the circle. The volume is an invitation to join in the dance by participating in the study of these two epistles. Theology and exegesis are sometimes understood as intellectual tasks that belong to the enclave of the seminaries, colleges, and universities, but if we understand the writers of the New Testament to be engaged in the writing of theology, then the theology demonstrated in the biblical text is one that is worked out in the context of the everyday, workday world. It is lived out and worked out around meals and journeys and conversations and disagreements and betrayal and division and reconciliation. The separation of theology from the lives of faith communities and from interaction with rigorous and systematic study of Scripture has left all three dancers spinning off in solo dances competing for the spotlight. The separation of exegesis from theology and far too frequently from the needs of confessional communities has led the individual dancers to a false sense of importance, to a sense of relevance apart from the other dancers. All three are needed to form a truly exceptional company of dancers. It is time for the soloists to return to the company and dance together a dance they could never undertake alone. The very action of coming together in the dance is part of the interpretive work done in people's lives, whether students of scholars or plumbers or homemakers or field-hands or pastors or child-care-givers, and the living out of one's understanding of the Bible and its theology is a living out of the life which God gives us and to which we are called.”

Ruth Anne Reese, 2 Peter and Jude, Two Horizons New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 1–2.

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