The Prism of Scripture
In the last week I have had a the same conversation with several different people about scripture. Because it is on my mind, and because it is on other’s minds too; I thought I would post my latest tool for scriptural interpretation and see what you think. Hopefully you can help sharpen my imagery and add the depth of your experience.
The question centers around how do we find truth in scripture. As a Methodist I use a version of the Wesley Quadrilateral. The quadrilateral includes Scripture, Reason, Experience, and Tradition. But each do not stand alone when revealing truth. Instead we use reason, experience, and tradition to interpret scripture.
If scripture was a concise and smooth surface than this would be an easy task. It would look a little bit like this….
Unfortunately, scripture is not a smooth service which reflects a central point. Scripture includes a variety of kinds of writing. It has authors who are unknown and whose motives are lost. It is translated adding layers of vagueness. There are tons of variables making scripture a rough and diverse surface. So instead, it looks more like this…..
Scripture becomes a prism and as experience, reason, and tradition filter through it a spectrum of truth is made known. For many people this is too close to relativism. However, just because there is a spectrum does not mean anything goes. Many, in fact, most possibilities fall outside the spectrum. There are few truths and many on un-truths, but rarely to never is there only one truth. When we limit the Bible to one truth we ignore how big God can be. Each of us bring a unique experience and reason to the text and when we work together our spectrum is widened.
That is my current interpretive image. I hope it works for you. If not, tell me why. I am always open to adapting and growing.