Friday, May 05, 2006

Trinitarian Interpretation

Dan, Congratulations to you and Sue on the birth of your latest grand baby.

I would like you to help me (us) understand your approach to interpretation from a trinitarian perspective. Since my students will make reference to your model I need to be better informed about it.

So, tell us the approach and perhaps we could work on applying it to some select Old and New Testament passages.



Blogger dan said...

My work on the Christocentric Trinitarian model is an attempt to blend systematic and biblical theology more closely together around the Christian confession that the Triune God has revealed himself uniquely in Christ and the gospel. In many ways it is simply an attempt to do all my theological work conscious of this great presupposition (which I also see as a kind of epistemological synthetic "foundationalism". I know that will need some unpacking.} What I am finding is that this way of thinking is at once simple and confessional, and yet complex and philsophically helpful - at least to me. Grin.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Dan does that mean as we read and interpret Scripture we should have in our mind the trinity. Such as how is this accomplished, or what is the purpose of this in regards to the total God head. This may be an over simplification but am I going in the right direction?

9:00 AM  
Blogger dan said...

Bill, it is not so much trying to locate the explicit or implicit information found in the text that points to the Trinity (though this is part of it). Rather it is the recognition that the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ and that the Christian has experienced is the Triune God. The Trinity is not merely a theological construct, but is wrapped up in the gospel itself and with "the way things are." With this full revelation of God, the believer now cannot help but read the whole canon from a Trinitarian perspective. My argument is that we should not bracket this when we do our academic and theological work. I think the history of biblical studies, particularly since the Age of Reason, has biased the believer against this kind of reading.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Dan give me an illustration of what you are saying from a Hebrews passage.

When you say that we should read the whole canon from a Trinitarian perspective does that mean I am looking for something in the text or does that mean that I am depending on something when I read the text?

In other words am I looking for the Trinity or am I depending on the Trinity as I read the text?

7:10 PM  
Blogger dan said...

At least, a few moments to respond, at least, in part.

Let me respond to the question first, and then attempt an illustration from Hebrews. Your question is: Am I looking for something (i.e., the Trinity) in the text, or am I depending on something (i.e., the Trinity) as I read the text? That is a good way of seeking clarification. As you probably can guess, my answer will be a “both and”… and more.

What I am stressing is that instead of the usual focus on the “grammatical-historical” method of interpretation, the believer must practice a “grammatical-historical-experiential” hermeneutic. The God of Scripture has revealed himself through the text and through history (climaxing with the Christ-Event and Pentecost) to be Triune. Beginning with the apostles and the early church and continuing to our day, all believers have experienced this very Triune God. He is the God we know. It changes the way we read the OT, we can never go back to a way of reading that is pre-Easter, for Christ has opened our eyes (Luke 24). So the Christian reads the canon knowing and experiencing a secret: the God who is there, and who works redemptively for us, is the Triune God. So, yes, the believer is depending on the Trinity as he reads the OT, AND he now has eyes to see and understand who this God is who is at work in the OT. The early Church Fathers (pre-modern) understood this. For Irenaeus, for example, Word and Spirit (the two ‘hands of God’) were always active in the history of salvation. This, I would argue, is what Paul, and the other apostles, believed…and the writer of Hebrews as well.

So when we start reading Hebrews and we come, for example, to Heb 1:8, and the author says about the Son, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever” it is NOT odd or forced. It is simply that the believer has experienced the true and living God to be Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But it is also “more.” But that will need to wait for another opportunity. I pray your travels are going smoothly. Blessings.

7:18 PM  

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