What is the Function of Scripture?

Over at Jesus Creed, Scot McKight has a recent post on NT Wright's latest book (The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture --don't buy it from Amazon, though--buy it from Hearts & Minds, and tell them Bob sent you!).

Anyway, Scot gives this statement about Wright's thesis:

When Wright comes to sum up his entire argument, on p. 114, he says this:
The authority of Scripture is “a picture of God’s sovereign and saving plan for the entire cosmos, dramatically inaugurated by Jesus himself, and now to be implemented through the Spirit-led life of the church precisely as the scripture-reading community.” Thus, the “authority of Scripture” is put into action in the Church’s missional operations.
Scripture, he says, is more than a record of revelation and was never simply about imparting information — it is God’s word to redeem his people as God works out his plan for the entire created order.

I am reading an excellent book about living the Christian life entitled Heaven Is Not My Home: Learning to Live in God's Creation by Paul Marshall. I love this book!! Here is a gem of a quote on the function of Scripture in a believer's life:

“God’s word is a ‘lamp to my feet and a light for my path’ (Ps. 119:105)...The purpose of a lamp is not to illuminate itself but other things. Similarly, apart from its revelation of God, God’s Word is meant to be a light on creation, helping us to see properly the world that God has made…God’s Word is more than a light; it is a light on a path. It illuminates the way before us. If we walk at night we do not stare at our flashlight. Nor do we point it at the sky or at our feet. Rather, we point it forward and down, hitting the ground about six feet ahead. We shine it on the path before us because we want to see where we are going. In the same way, as we study the Scripture we need to shine them on the questions that lie before us on our pilgrimage. We need to study God’s Word but also God’s world; we study the world in the light of God’s Word. We need to study not only Isaiah but also industry. Not only Philemon but also politics. Not only Acts but arts. It is not for us to choose between knowing the Bible or the world; we need to know the world biblically.”

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Phil Steiger said...

Bob-I know far more about Grenz's kind of communitarian approach to Scripture's authority than Vanhoozer's speech-act approach. In your opinion, would this take by Wright be closer to Grenz or Vanhoozer?

Bob Robinson said...


I just purchased Vanhoozer's The Drama Of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach To Christian Theology, so I don't think I can answer your question too well yet.

The best thing you could do is to check out Wright's lecture on the Bible's authority here.