“The test of good interpretations is that it makes good sense of what is written.” (22)
For 33 years that guiding principle has sat at the heart of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, an evangelical standard-bearer for biblical interpretation. Since 1981 Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart have helped interested Christians do what St. Augustine said he heard: “Take up and read!” This new fourth edition seeks the same goal of helping us read God’s Word better with worship and obedience.
And yet, Fee and Stuart encourage not just any reading.
They encourage good reading through good interpretation, the aim of which is not uniqueness but plainness—a so-called “plain reading of Scripture.”
“[U]niqueness is not the aim of our task,” they write. “The aim of good interpretation is simple: to get at the ‘plain meaning of the text,’ the author’s intended meaning.” (22)
Easier said than done!
Fee and Stuart say such an endeavor is possible, but requires much from the reader at two separate levels: We must first understand what was said to original audience back then and there; we must learn to hear the same word in the hear and now.
In other words, the two most important tasks for biblical interpreters is exegesis and hermeneutics. Without them the reader is lost.
And so is the interpretation.