Asking Questions of the Bible

Here’s an interpretive disease many have when it comes to the sorts of things we moderns ask of the Bible… Lots of people are asking the Bible to answer questions it never intends to answer. I’m working my way through Exodus for a class I’m co-teaching this Fall and have noticed there are tons of those open questions that we want answered. Here’s what Peter Enns, author of the Exodus volume of the NIV Application Commentary (a surprisingly good series, BTW):

 “[A] good many historical issues remain hopelessly unresolved. In what century the Exodus took place will remain a point of debate for some time, even among evangelicals. We still do not know who the pharaoh of the Exodus was. Curiously enough, we are not told (see Ex. 1:8). To this day we do not know what route the Israelites took, what specific body of water they crossed, or where Mount Sinai is. These events form the very basic historical contours of Exodus and yet they continue to elude us. Can proper interpretation of the book proceed only after these basic questions are answered? No. In fact, the church has been deriving spiritual benefit from Exodus for a long time without such firm knowledge” (Exodus, 25). 

Well said. Let’s not even get started on Genesis. I still wanna keep my job, at this point.


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