Thanks for joining us for Frederick Dale Bruner’s five-part series on “the adventure of Gospel interpretation.” Today we say goodbye to Dr. Bruner as we post his heartfelt conclusion. If you’ve missed any of the previous articles in this series, use the links below to find them all. If you’re simply craving the opportunity to read more of Dr. Bruner’s pastoral insight into the Gospels than we have space to present here, check out his new book The Gospel of John: A Commentary — it’s currently in production and expected to ship before the end of February.
I. How I Became a Gospel Interpreter (Part 1)
II. How I Became a Gospel Interpreter (Part 2)
III. The Special Responsibilities of Gospel Interpreters
IV. One Striking Experience in Seeking to Understand the Gospel of John
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It has been a very happy exercise for me to reflect on my major adventures in, first, becoming a Gospel interpreter at all, and the circuitous route there; second, in learning what being a Gospel interpreter should probably mean in terms of responsibilities; and lastly, to share with you one of my major experiences, an “aha-moment” in Gospel interpretation itself.
We isolated, insulated, strange little interpreters of Scripture (I think I can speak for most of us), with our metallic posteriors, all over the world — sitting in little studies trying to figure out what these ancient words in the Old Book really mean and what they are trying to say today — we cherish as our major hope in this life that, perhaps, per grace, what we learn and pass on from these little isolated, insulated places in libraries can be of help to busy human beings in the real world, to those who are Jesus’ hands, feet, and heart, those who live out there in that rugged world, and who also teach and preach Holy Scripture in their lives and in their work.
The final earthly justification for a Gospel interpreter’s strange life at all is this: if a real Christian out there in the real world — a Sunday-School teacher, a youth worker, a parent, a grandparent, or, mainly (as I think most of us who write commentaries think), a pastor — can find something in our attempts at interpretation that will help explain the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that very day, and the coming day, and especially on Sunday, we will be so grateful.