David Ker, the blogger formerly known as Lingamish (that’s still the name of his blog), has started what looks like becoming a fascinating series of Exegetical Sketches by describing the Alexander’s Sword method of interpreting the Bible, and contrasting it with the grammatico-historical method which is at least in theory recommended by scholars. In David’s image, whereas the scholars try to unravel the Gordian knot of complications in the text, preachers who use the method he is describing, like Alexander the Great, simply cut through this knot with their sword. That is, these preachers are
Abandoning in-depth exegesis for relativistic readings anchored by tradition and divine guidance.
Is this Alexander’s Sword method ever valid? Despite my post title, David doesn’t seem to think it is. And I more or less agree. I certainly don’t think that preachers should abandon proper exegesis of the text, although I also don’t think they need to go into some of the murky depths e.g. of source criticism that biblical scholars might lure them into. But once the original meaning of the text has been established through exegesis, surely it is right for the preacher to rely on divine guidance, and refer to tradition, in establishing a reading of the text which is both in accordance with the original meaning and meets the needs of the congregation.
This is of course only a very brief summary of a complex issue, and I’m sure David will go into this in more depth, illuminating the murk, as his series continues.