Why the Bible Shouldn’t Have to be “Applied”

After a brief hiatus, I’ve jump-started my search for a well-defined, workable Christocentric hermeneutic. We’re not quite there yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This most recent post summarizes where the project is so far and explores why Narrative Theology has become such an important part of the paradigm.

More importantly, this installment challenges the almost universally-held belief that the most important part of any Bible Study is “application:”

It seems to me that if one accepts the idea that the Bible is God’s story, and begins to read it as such, it begins to deconstruct—and then rebuild— a believer’s worldview. When that happens, the idea of “application” becomes redundant—and shallow—in comparison. If someone has truly internalized the post-resurrection, new creation worldview of what it means to live on this side of Easter, attempting to find some superficial “application” in a single Bible story is a step backward—and just the teeniest bit self-centered.

Read the full article here and let me know what you think.

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Leslie Keeney is getting her Masters of Philosophical Studies at Liberty University. She is interested in atonement theology, moral apologetics, and how myth, narrative, and pop culture can reveal the best of man's universal moral intuition. She is both modern and post-modern (and the postmodern part means she's OK with the paradox). Leslie lives in Lynchburg with her husband, two kids, and two cats.

8 thoughts on “Why the Bible Shouldn’t Have to be “Applied””

  1. It’s an intriguing approach, but when do you get to the Christocentric part? If people can be inspired to imitate Jesus as they would the fictional characters you mentioned, what a different placed this world would be!

    1. Mike,

      Since my goal is to come up with a christocentric hermeneutic that can actually be explained and implemented (rather than just talked about in academic circles), it’s taking a loooooong time to lay the groundwork.

      We haven’t actually even gotten to the specifically christocentric part yet and it’s already quite a paradigm shift for some people.

      I agree that the possibilities are exciting! And I think (hope?) we’re getting close to the nuts and bolts stage.

      1. Its funny to me when Calvinists (not saying anyone here is one, just making a comment) always pit the idea of being Christocentric against being Anthropocentirc. Because Christ himself was more Anthropocentric than Christocentric. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.” Oh, how Christocentric of you Christ! The Calvis would condem Thee as an heretick! (Yes, with a K)

        1. If we subscribe to a given school of thought – whether it be Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Evangelicalism, Roman Catholocism, or any other ism – and will only consider as valid interpretations of Scripture that coincide with the subscribed school of thought, what is the point of reading Scripture?

        2. Two thoughts:
          1. That seems a bit short-sighted. Why did Christ come to serve? For the redemption and reconciliation of sinners. And what was the purpose of that? To the praise of his glorious grace. So, yes, Christ’s service was Christocentric if you take the long view.
          2. Jesus wasn’t applying a hermeneutic to Scripture – he was interpreting his actions – so the criticism wouldn’t apply in the first place.

    1. Craig,

      That is either probably or certainly true (not sure which yet). The difference is that the application is not conceived of as an external, behavioral, (dare I say it) pragmatic step, but as a natural expression of an internal transformation.

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