Copy of Personal Letter.
Maurice Lloyd's understanding of the process of Bible Study compared with the process of Theology.
'The Bible is the one and only authority'
"In your booklet on Bible Study you rightly say, 'In order to find out what something means we must first find out what it says'. Some people insist that the mind should not be used in studying the Bible; but that's a misunderstanding and is impossible. The mind has to be used for reading, for noting context and figures of speech as well as grammar. Only thus can we know what Scripture says, and so what meaning it conveys. But from this point on, faith is to be applied: to use the mind for reasoning beyond this stage leads to religious philosophy, or in other words, to Theology.
The acceptance of the full inspiration and inerrancy of the very words of the Scriptures, as in their autographs, is a matter of faith; it is a committal of the human spirit no less absolute than is faith in Christ personally. So having ascertained their meaning in a given case, it can and should be asserted positively on Biblical authority. Mere human thoughts doubtless should be presented tentatively, but such have no place in exposition of Scripture. To his credit Otis Sellers always made authoritative statements, and sometimes they were faulty. But the same assertive approach on the authority of Scripture is in order in making a refutation - whether or not the correction is heeded..
Exposition is the propounding of the truth of God's Word by the method of Exegesis; and since it is no part of the exercise to present proposals or ideas, "Scripture support" is meaningless, and Scripture itself does not need it. The expositor cannot bring conviction to the readers/hearers by reasoned argument; he can only give a faithful testimony and show just what Scripture states. All conviction of the truth can only come through acceptance by faith of what the written word expressly states.
In complete contrast a different style of religious discourse is common, and this I call Imposition; in which Scripture is moulded to give a desired meaning to traditional ideas which are already held, call them paradigms if you like. The same approach is used to advance new interpretations or propositions which, to afford them acceptability, are linked to biblical bolsters, that is to "Scriptural support". This is not Bible Study: it is Theology.
I absolutely and utterly disagree with the statement that "patterns of thought in regard to some Bible truths have yet to be devised". It is true that human minds like to encapsulate elements of truth in paradigms of their own devising, which they then label and put into a creed. Of course, they will say the Bible is a final authority; but this claim is false, since the Bible is the one and only authority, for there are no others. The truth of God is not to be compartmentalised: it is integrated and homogeneous".
MSL/DA June 1993
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