On March 3, 2021, I had the honor of presenting a talk to the faculty and students of Spurgeon’s College (London), as part of their weekly postgraduate seminar. (As is seemingly every academic event these days, the seminar was conducted via Zoom.) My presentation was entitled, “Scripture Reading Scripture: Can the Chronicler Teach Us How to Interpret and Apply the Bible?”
I very much enjoyed this opportunity to contribute to the life of the College, to renew some old acquaintances and make new ones, and to even see some familiar faces of LCC faculty, students and graduates who were permitted to join.
Even though the Q&A was even more interesting and stimulating than the talk, I’ve decided to share here my presentation in written form. A good section of the presentation is a quick overview of previous scholarship on Chronicles. It was fun to review and present just a taste of what makes Chronicles interesting for me. Here is an abstract:
Why is the book of Chronicles included in the Bible? How should we teach and preach from it? Though in the Old Testament we find many texts that are difficult to interpret and to translate into our own contexts, biblical authors (including the Chronicler) have already provided their own interpretations of earlier scripture, which can be not merely instructive for us, but authoritative. This presentation will briefly survey the history of interpretation of Chronicles, and why it has been problematic for modern and pre-modern interpreters. We will examine some of the unique obstacles and opportunities for biblical interpretation that are presented by Chronicles. We will also consider strategies for teaching and preaching from Chronicles, and “reading backwards” from Chronicles to more faithfully interpret its source texts.