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The road from interpretation to application

Last week at the Annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting, the theme of the meeting was “Creation Care.” This is not a subject that I find particularly interesting, but in the final plenary session, Doug Moo made a point that was quite helpful and that applies to areas that I am certainly interested in.

In the context of Christians caring for creation, Moo addressed the issue of how the Bible applies to the matter. He made the point that the road from biblical exegesis and interpretation to application (in areas like creation care) is not like a direct, uninterrupted super highway, contrary to how we often think of it.

Rather, he described such a road as one with a traffic circle, into which many other roads merge. In other words, on our journey between understanding the truths of Scripture and applying them to life situations, other sources of information  merge and influence our applications. These other “roads” may include science, reason, history, observation, philosophy, research, etc.

Moo’s point was in reference to information that should inform our application of Scripture to creation care, but I thought his analogy well illustrates what is necessary for hundreds of other issues as well, including our cultural/musical choices for worship and Christian living.

Certainly the Bible is our supreme authority when it comes to any decisions we make, whether in the care of creation or the music we chose for worship. Yet in our application of that supreme authority to the decisions, we will often encounter (and, indeed, must consider) other information that merges into our applications.

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.