Moving Beyond the Text to Apply the Text

This paragraph not only sums up much of I. Howard Marshall‘s masterful contribution to Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy, but has profound hermeneutical and pastoral implications. You’ll have to read the entire essay (pp 27ff) to feel the weight of what I’m getting at (hint: it’s not just about egalitarianism, either).

A recognition of the fully egalitarian implications of scriptural teaching thus takes place at the level of the application of Scripture to the contemporary reader, rather than solely at the level of what individual texts were saying specifically to the original readers. But the deeper application is made in light of the gospel and in recognition that the gospel pushes us on to a fuller understanding, while the new situations in which we live require us to seek in Scripture answers to questions that lie beyond the horizons of the original readers and writers alike.

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