ABSTRACT

Both Athanasius and Augustine hold that one cannot truly understand Scripture without a life of conduct congruent with it. This article seeks to provide a hermeneutical framework by which such claims can be more fully developed and applied to the reading of Scripture. In particular, scriptural understanding will be coordinated with the responsive action of the reader. For readers have not understood the conceptual content of Scripture if they cannot perform the right actions with it. Only by way of such actions can readers mean what God means by scriptural concepts. While the acquisition of information is necessary for such understanding, it is not a sufficient condition. Understanding, and thus the textual meaning to be understood, ultimately operate on the level of actions. Accordingly, this article will trace a two-fold dynamic that enables scriptural understanding. That is, it is by God’s revelation that we receive the concepts necessary for understanding the culmination of his work in Christ, and this understanding cannot be separated from the Spirit-enabled actions by which we respond to God by way of these concepts. Both parts of this process are inherently participatory as God condescends to his people to make each aspect of his communication wholly efficacious. Toward that end, the concept of resurrection will constitute a test case as it is examined in its canonical context and coordinated with the act of confessing Christ.

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