If there was ever a forum in which someone could be misunderstood or misinterpreted , surely Twitter or Facebook would head such a list. It occured to me this week that Facebook and Twitter (Twitter more so) are prefect examples of why a reader response approach to reading scripture does not work. As I understand it, a reader response approach to reading scripture focuses the entire meaning on the readers experience of the text with little to no regard for original context and meaning.
Twitter is the perfect example of why this does not work. When people read a tweet they are free to interpret the quote from their own world view and stand point. The meaning of the quote lies in its reception and not its original intent. What can happen, as it seems to with many celebrities, the quote is misunderstood when divorced from its orginal meaning and context. The amount of offense that is taken by people saying the wrong thing is incredible even when the offense was not intended. This is no less true with Holy Scripture.
When we divorce scripture from both God (which can easily happen in the Biblical studies field) and the authors original meaning (as often happens in preaching) the meaning of the text is left in the hands of the recipient. It is my developing view that Scripture cannot be Holy Scripture apart from its original meaning and nor can it be The Word of God apart from the God who reveals it. Scripture becomes the Word of God as we listen and discern its meaning within both its historical and theological contexts. Any form of Scripture reading that ignores this is surely no more than a golden calf constructed because on is bored with their own experience!
Just my 2 cents…