The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


2 readings produce different views

Is there a clear, unbiased way to interpret the Bible?

Rolf Jacobson's column (February, "Open the Bible, find yourself") was a solid, even stirring reminder of the good news of God for us and all people. But it's interesting to juxtapose that article with the one written by Timothy J. Wengert (November, "Are we 'that people'?"). Jacobson reminds us of the promises of God, spoken by Moses to the people in Deuteronomy, and says, "Rejoice! We are that people too." Wengert looks at ritual and moral law, also spoken by Moses in Old Testament times, and says in effect, "Relax, we are not that people." Perhaps both are working with accepted hermeneutical principles, and perhaps both are right. But one is left with the haunting suspicion that we today are simply very good at hearing what we want to hear and ignoring the rest. Is there a clear, unbiased way of deciding?

The Rev. Steve Ramsey
Arlington, Ohio

Listen for the lesson

In "The lost art of storytelling" (February), finally we touch upon the matter of stories as told to and by the ancients. The factual thrust of the story was unimportant and beside the point. What was important was the lesson conveyed by the story. I commend the book Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller by Gary Burge and the video series by Kenneth Bailey, both of which greatly illustrate ancient Jewish storytelling and our present-day understanding of biblical stories.

Larry L. Shupe
Harland, Wis.

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