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This page revised and Copyrighted: Theon Doxazo

14 December, 2023

 

Exegetial Self-Doubts

02.3.9

2 Surely I am the most ignorant of men, and I lack the understanding of a man.

3 I have not learned wisdom, and I have no knowledge of the Holy One.

                                   Proverbs 30:2-3

 

Why would other contemporary commentators disagree with my interpretations?  In looking at this question I reviewed the lovely little Handbook by Davids (2011).  His depth of scholarship simply leaves me in the dust.  He also disagrees with me.  So, if he, and so many other contemporary scholars, disagree with me, how can I possibly stand here and advocate to you something different?

 

Many contemporary scholars consider 2 Peter to be a fraud.  They disagree over whether 'Peter' copied from 'Jude', or vice versa.  Having focused on the parallels between the two books, they reduce the 1st chapter of 2 Peter to being, essentially, an introduction and a support for what they see as the main thrust of the book, the latter two chapters that combat heresy.  Thus, for them, the portion of the text that I am focusing on is a side-show to a fraud.

 

I have also noticed that so many of these commentators display an understanding of the original languages that dwarfs mine.  Arguments turn on the, seemingly, most minor of aspects of the text.  They use terms that describe grammatical principles that I have never heard of, much less understand.  So how can I, in all good faith, proclaim an understanding of the text different from theirs?

 

It may be hubris.  Crazier things have happened.  But I recall a Chapel speaker (I think if was Woody Phillips) who described such commentators as 'majoring in the minors'.  He noted that some commentators seem to get so busy with the minutia of the text that they miss the major themes.  They "don't see the forest for the trees".  Personally, I'm so enamored by the forest that I tend to overlook and discount the trees.  It may be that we're both wrong.

 

I have been so overwhelmed by my Assumptions that it effects things at this point.  I have as a major Assumption that "All Scripture is Inspired, Authoritative, Convicting, and Universal".  That includes Second Peter.  Given such an assumption I simply reject the 'fraud' charge out of hand.  I really don't pay much attention to it.  That being said, I really don't worry about the parallels between 2 Peter and Jude.  As a result, I haven't paid much attention to the last two chapters of 2 Peter.  I'm focused on the 1st chapter, and most especially, on Verses 5-7.  Thus, when I consider the rest of the 1st chapter I tend to think of it in terms of Vs. 5-7.  When I think of the book, I tend to think of it in terms of Vs. 5-7.  When I consider the Scriptures as a whole, I tend to think of them in terms of Vs. 5-7.  When I encounter a personal problem as I live my life, I tend to think of it in terms of Vs. 5-7.  When others recount their problems to me I tend to think of them in terms of Vs. 5-7.  When I consider the decline of the American church and America generally, I tend to think of them in terms of Vs. 5-7.  I have spent 49 years of my life focusing on Vs. 5-7.  I see it as my 'calling' from God.  I was ordained with this text in mind.

 

As I recount all this I am struck by how much my viewpoint of Vs. 5-7 reeks of Eisegesis.  Am I going overboard?  It sure sounds like it.  How should you, the intelligent reader, think of all this?  Well, going overboard isn't necessarily bad.  Luther went a little overboard when he confronted the institutional church.  Calvin took Romans and positively 'ran' with it, to the point that he overlooked and discounted anything disagreeing with him (James springs to mind.)  Wesley went a little overboard with his concern for personal holiness.  I suppose the same thing can be said about the Shakers.  They died off because of it!  Some would say that Martin Luther King went overboard as he confronted racism in America.  Some (I'm thinking of the Chief Priests) thought that Jesus went overboard when he 'cleansed' the temple.  Going overboard isn't, necessarily, a bad thing.  But you need to be careful how and about what you 'go overboard'.

 

I'm concerned that I may be engaging in Eisegesis.  That is something we always need to be concerned about.  How should we deal with this?  You, the reader, need to be aware of the danger and think about what I am saying.  Evaluate it.  Don't accept it uncritically.  The term 'due diligence' springs to mind.  For myself, I need to be aware of the danger and remain humble.  I must always be aware that I can be (and often am) wrong.  I need to monitor and restrain my enthusiasms.  (I just made a note in my tickler file under Virtue Pathology).  So what am I so enthusiastic about?

 

Imagine the Church with the ability to approach the unsaved and lead them to consider and accept Christ.  Imagine their ability the take a recent convert and systematically lead them, step by step, to learn how to love.  "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).  When the Church comes to be filled with people who love, both one another as well as those outside the Church, evangelism won't be a problem.  Even America may have hope of having another 'Great Awakening.'  This broad imagined future would be something to get excited about.  That would be something to 'go overboard' about.  Guilty as charged.