Biblical interpretation has long been a topic of much research and debate. The traditional perspective is an ancient one and has existed for thousands of years. On the other hand the modern biblical perspective has greatly increased in popularity in the past few hundred years. With this rise, clashes and questions about how this view affects Scripture have risen as well. Those who subscribe to the modern view would say that it is the only correct way to look at Scripture, and would refute any interpretation system that disagreed with it. With this in mind, one can establish if the modern biblical perspective is essential and whether it takes away from Scripture.
The modern biblical perspective has existed for centuries but the rise in popularity in America occurred in the late nineteenth century on the heels of Professor Charles Briggs. Briggs was a Presbyterian preacher who first became acquainted with modern biblical scholarship while studying in Germany. He was tried for heresy by the church when he returned home questioning the validity of the Bible. The system that Briggs returned home with seemed to diametrically oppose the traditional view of interpretation. The four assumptions of the modernist perspective are that the Bible: is not cryptic and should be understood literally, is not instructional for today, is fallible, and is probably not divinely given or inspired. These assumptions have led to conclusions such as the documentary hypothesis, etiological views of Bible stories, and the questioning of the history of Bible stories. Examining these things will show that a modernist perspective is not essential, and that it also removes something essential from the Scriptures.
The four assumptions of modernists are just as important as those of the traditionalist camp. To examine whether these assumptions are correct, it is best to compare them to what Scripture says. The first assumption is both right and wrong. Deuteronomy 29:29 says that, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law.” This shows that there are some things that only God knows and some that have been revealed for mankind to know. I believe this verse not only applies to life but the Bible as well. I believe the second assumption is refuted by two verses in the New Testament: 2 Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 4:12. These two verses show that the Bible is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” and “living and powerful”. If the Bible is a living document that means that it can be applicable in any time period.
The fourth assumption should be handled before the third. I believe that 2 Timothy 3:16 refutes this assumption as well saying that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” This verse does not specify whether any part of the Bible is directly dictated by God but the fact that it was inspired does...