“In many ways, redemptive-historical interpretation resembles a close reading of ancient and authoritative texts, such as constitutional documents or even dense poetry. Yet there are differences. The redemptive-historical theologian (RHT) is, for this essay, an evangelical who affirms the verbal or plenary inspiration of Scripture. We assert the inerrancy, infallibility, sufficiency, progressive development, and christocentricity of the Bible. Because we believe Scripture has a divine Author who inspires the human author, the discovery of the first Author’s message obligates the ideal reader to believe and do certain things as a result, even if that should prove difficult.” – Daniel M. Doriani, Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology, 76
As some of you know, or can recognize, I’d consider myself an advocate of Redemptive-Historical Interpretation (RHI) when we’re talking about the application of Scripture to the lives of Christians living today. The method just makes so much sense to me. The reason I find this quote so helpful is because Doriani clearly explains the foundations for RHI in this book, which is excellent. The other authors who contribute their methods are equally good (though some better than others), but I love RHI.
But beyond advocating RHI, I really like how Doriani underlies essential points to any Evangelical method: (1) assumed inspiration, (2) inerrancy & infallibility, (3) sufficiency, (4) progressive development, and (5) christocentricity. Each of these should underlie an Evangelical’s approach to the text. In fact, while we Evangelicals do a great job of promoting #’s 1, 2, 3 and often 5, at times we ignore #4, which is essential to hermeneutics! God has chosen to progressively reveal both Himself and His plan of redemption throughout History. We find evidence of this especially in the New Testament, where the promises of the Old Testament find fulfillment. And what’s more is that these promises, which progressively develop through redemptive history, find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, which underlies why we are christocentric!
Recognizing these essential suppositions is what Doriani states should encourage our obligation to dig into the text and determine what God’s message was through the human authors by determining what the human authors’ message was! From there, though it may be “difficult,” our lives are to be changed – both what we believe and how we act. Amen,
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.