Bible Reading Tip: Reading Assumptions

Dr. James Boyce offered the following notes in his Lay School of Theology class in Spring 2012, “How the Bible Came to Us: Its Writing, Use, and Authority.” 


  1. We all interpret when we read.
    The church has from the beginning and still regularly differs in its hearing of Scripture
  2. We debate meaning for today.
  3. Experience and knowledge matter.
    Meaning comes out of reading the Scriptures, community consensus, and experience
  4. The Bible is not first about ethics.
    Ethics are conditioned by context as we are drawn into the story of God’s people, and our stories are shaped in our faithful hearing and experience

Boyce adds these insights on what it means to be people of the Word:

  1. A hearing that is dynamic not static
    Resources: Tradition | Reason | Experience
  2. Hearing a new Word for new occasions
    No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. (Luke 5:37)
  3. Live with ambiguity
  4. Live with diversity

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