Original Research

Can the chasms be bridged? Different approaches to Bible reading

Gert J. Malan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 66, No 1 | a404 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.404 | © 2010 Gert J. Malan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 September 2009 | Published: 05 July 2010


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Abstract

Reality confronts theologians with the fact that they themselves and believers across the world read and interpret the Bible in diverse ways. Understanding the reason for this is part of the solution. The essence of the problem is that the quest for meaning is an unending journey with frequent ravines to cross. Invariably, a linguistic, historical, cultural and social chasm opens up between current readers of Biblical texts and the cultural, as well as historically layered, settings in which the documents originated. This review article is a discussion of the ways in which several authors approach the Bible from their different theological vantage points and from different fields of application. It assesses the way in which they understand this problem and how they see a solution. An assessment is made from the historical-literary and social-scientific approach to biblical texts, as practiced in the Netherdutch Reformed Church in Africa. Solutions suggested and applied in this situation are compared to solutions proposed by various authors. There may be a positive outcome: the chasms might be bridged, but only when certain criteria are met and when all parties concerned are willing to work with patience, trust and fearless diligence.

Keywords

exegesis; hermeneutics; historical-literary; social-scientific; view on Scripture

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