Jun 30, 2013

Message: In the Event or Text?

"Biblical narrators were concerned not only to describe historical events, but also to interpret them. Indeed, it is in the authors’ interpretation that we find the permanent message. Although God did in fact reveal himself and speak through the events of history and the experiences of Israel (see the purpose of the miracles in the Exodus narratives and the events prophesied by Ezekiel), it is difficult (if not impossible) for us to reconstruct the events and thereby recover the message of God in the original event. Indeed, our only access to that historical revelation is through the interpretation offered by the inspired writers of the texts of Scripture. The message we preach must accord with the message proclaimed by the inspired narrator and interpreter of those events. That message may be retrieved only by carefully studying what the authors have written. While we recognize the value of the history of interpretation of biblical texts, and of interpretations given by contemporary commentators, only the meaning of the original author, not that of later interpreters, offers the normative message of God."

Daniel I Block, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story: Preaching the Message of Old Testament Narrative,” in Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts, ed. David M. Howard Jr. and Michael A. Grisanti (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003), 413–14.


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