There’s a story in the Gospel of Luke where a group of religious purists called the Sadducees confront Jesus over the question of resurrection (Luke 20:27-40) It appears on the surface that they’re trying to trap Jesus over a fairly minor bit of theology.
But on closer examination of the text, we can see that the Sadducees are really not interested in what Jesus thinks about resurrection. What they really want to challenge is Jesus’ authority to interpret the Hebrew scriptures.
The scene is part of a series of events recorded in Luke just after Jesus arrives in Jerusalem for what will be the last time before his crucifixion. And the reason the religious leaders want to challenge Jesus’ authority to interpret scripture is that they want to disrupt his authority as the leader of the political revolt that is simmering around him. They figure if they can show that Jesus can’t interpret scripture correctly, he has no credibility as the leader of his movement.
How we interpret scripture has been a major point of contention in the church ever since the Protestant Reformation. But long before that, the priests and teachers of the law in Jesus’ time had deep divisions over how their sacred texts were to be elucidated.
So what does all that mean for how we interpret the Bible in our present contexts? Is there just one way to read scripture? Can we disagree over interpretations and still be viable as the church?
Join us this Sunday, Nov. 10, in the 167 Side Room of the Marietta Brewing Company for a conversation about interpretation and authority, and why they’re important in our world today.
Happy half-hour at 6:30pm, conversation starts at 7:00pm