In his book, Deep Exegesis, Peter Leithart speaks of the biblical text as many things, but none is more confronting than his viewing the text as a “joke.” His explanation, however, makes perfect sense. What makes a joke funny? It is either prior knowledge to which not everyone is privy, or a confounding of expectations (which are also based on prior knowledge to some degree). The Bible is full of such jokes, and realizing one is in on the joke is immensely satisfying.
Here’s a visual representation of the literary structure of the Bible. Of course, not every book identical in structure, but the use of literary “coordinates” is made plain. The subject matter of each line is thus a multi-faceted symbol, a relationship between the subject of the line, the subject of the stanza which contains it, the subject of the passage which contains the stanzas, and the books which contains the passages.
Read a very helpful introduction to the reasons for a preterist interpretation of the Revelation by Msgr. Charles Pope. HT: Micah Martin.
Currently in the Liturgies of daily Mass we have been reading the Book of Revelation. It is commonly read at the end of the liturgical year, for it bespeaks the end of, and passing qualities of all things of this world.
or Mixed Blessings
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy” (1 Cor. 7:14).
The Corinthians had wanted to know whether unbelief on the part of a spouse was in itself grounds for divorce. Paul has replied no, provided that the unbelieving partner is pleased to be together with the Christian in a marriage as biblically defined. If the only thing that is wrong is the spouse’s failure to believe in Christ, then the couple should still remain together.
On the shape of biblical language, John Breck writes:
How are we to read the Bible?
The question invites a reply that expresses an attitude: we should read it with respect, with devotion, with curiosity, perhaps even with awe. Certainly these are appropriate responses. Our concern in this present study, however, is not with attitudes but with the approach we use.
“The apocalyptists said, The world is coming to an end: Give up! The Biblical prophets said, The world is coming to a beginning: Get to work!”
Is it only me that has to restrain himself from violence when someone refers to the Revelation as “Apocalyptic”? I guess using a long word derived from Greek is a handy way of disguising the fact that you have little idea of what’s actually going on in the book.
or The Holy Hymen 101
“This, like many things in the Torah, sounds pretty barbaric. But, like many of the weirdest things in the Torah, we see these laws, which are personal types, played out in corporate antitypes right to the end of the Bible.”
“But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
In a recent debate about Greg Bahsen’s woeful review of Chilton’s The Days of Vengeance, an online friend took interpretive maximalism to task.
For instance, because doorposts could be likened to legs, Jordan claims that the passover blood smeared on doorposts corresponds to the blood of circumcision—which in turn is equivalent to the tokens of virginity from the wedding night (I am not kidding; cf. The Law of the Covenant, pp. 82-83, 252-258). [PDF]
Yes, this sounds weird, but it isn’t at all. Bahnsen didn’t have an imagination fully informed by the Bible.
A friend’s colleague recently posted a summary of wrong ways that evangelicals read the Bible, based on a chapter in Graeme Goldsworthy’s book, Gospel-Centred Hermeneutics. 
Boiled down even further, the main errors are:
- The “me-centred” approach: Context is meaningless. Texts speak directly to me.
- Literalism: Fulfilment in Jesus is ignored.
- Legalism: We rail about keeping the Sabbath but eat prawns.
- Subjectivisim: My reading of a passage is right because I felt a peace from God.
- Pluralism: The Bible has many possible interpretations.
- Pragmatism: There are more people at church, so what we are doing must be right, regardless of what the Bible says.
This is a good list, but simply dividing the Bible into pre-gospel and gospel leads to a misinterpretation of much biblical prophecy. Mr Goldsworthy’s blanket-style “everything is fulfilled in Jesus” hermeneutic means he himself ends up with a “me-centred” approach to the Bible.
“The Trinity is certainly a mystery, but it only remains a mystery to us because we don’t take the Bible’s detailed architectural descriptions seriously.”
Adjective: Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.
We’ve been discussing the “intuition” required to makes sense of the Scriptures. Why is this the case? Are words somehow more than words? How is it that we can make more “sense” of sentences than what they obviously contain to the naked eye?
The idea of “reading between the lines” makes Bible scholars rightly nervous. Coming up with “new stuff” from ancient texts can most certainly be a dangerous pastime. But there are guidelines, and they have to do with relationship.