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Only the Best Wine
Context, Comparison, Consistency
We are in the midst of a house move right now and so I’m currently sitting on a sofa surrounded by brick-a-brac of all varieties, but the one section of the room which has captured all of my attention is the stack of books right in front of me. Some are going to a charity, most are going to a second-hand Christian bookshop, but all of them have affected either my wife or myself (or the both of us) in some way.
I don’t know about you but when I read I do so acutely aware that the information I’m taking in isn’t just for me, but for others as well. This might be as simple as trying to figure out whether or not Anna might like it, but usually, I find myself reading books in order to make sure that I can teach others well. This occurred recently reading “An Invitation to Biblical Interpretation” by Andreas J. Köstenberger, which beautifully lays out what he calls the hermeneutical triad, but it's not always been known by that name. In fact, it's been known by many names and in many forms throughout the centuries.
Köstenberger uses the terms History, Literature, and Theology, but before him, theologians like Perkins used the terms Collation, Comparison & Analogy of Faith. For my own use I would be more than happy with using either of these, I think they're perfectly good and explain well what they're trying to get across, I found that in teaching others, these are simply not memorable enough.
Often at slightly fancier weddings, you'll find that the bride and groom have chosen for their guests a specific bottle of wine. What most guests don't recognise is the time that has gone into parsing out the good from the bad, afternoons spent with sommeliers and arguments over the particulars. Guests just drink and enjoy. There's nothing wrong with this this is exactly the reason that the bride and groom spent the time that they did, the same is true of Disciplers. Over the course of a year, I might sample 50 books that I find absolutely no use in whatsoever for discipleship purposes, but even when I'm reading a book of inestimable value there are inevitably times that I must separate what will stick in people’s minds from what won’t. This can be a painful process for me because sometimes I love the passages of the book that I'm reading and I think that people would glean huge amounts of wisdom from reading them, Just as I can't bring every good bottle of wine to a wedding though, I cannot bring every shred of wisdom to a disciple.
To that end, though I use this same hermeneutical triad to teach people how to read the Bible, I used what I call the three C’s.
Over the next three weeks, I'm going to go into detail that's what I mean by all of these three C’s, but for this week, while time is short, I simply wanted to introduce them by detailing in part how they came about. For the first time since coming up with these titles, I was asked this week where I’d learned them, it occurred to me but I should probably have a better answer than “well I just, kind of, well everybody uses them, they just use different words.”
This is the start of that explanation, though I’m not content to leave it like this, perhaps in a few weeks, after dropping off books, moving furniture, and sleeping in our new room for the first time I’ll come back and do this in more clarity. Maybe by then, I’ll even have sampled more wine.
Come back next week to find out what I mean by ‘Context’, how to use it, and where the concept came from. I truly hope it will either help you to read your Bible more clearly or help you to disciple others.
I would love to thank you for a month of reading my Substack, most of you who have subscribed have been here since week one and though at the moment I am simply working on making sure I have something out each week, I hope I can repay the support with something you look forward to reading each week.
Feedback is also always welcome, if there’s anything I’ve written that you feel could use further explanation or expansion I’d be very happy to know so I can write more on the subject!
For now, thank you for reading and I look forward to greeting your inbox again next saturday.