Saturday, July 17, 2010

Joseph Johnson's Principles of Scriptural Interpretation for Preaching

(B.B. King, who imaginatively preached on his guitar "Lucille.")

Black biblical scholar Joseph Johnson gave us the following eleven principles which suggest a way of preparation for the imaginative use of Scripture.

  1. Prepare yourself with devotion and prayer prior to your encounter with the Scriptures.
  2. Read the entire chapter in which the ext is located.
  3. Become acquainted with all of the stories which lead up to the text and those that follow.
  4. What were the problems, the situation of the participants in the story?
  5. Read the biblical passages aloud, so as to hear the Scriptures and permit them to speak with you.
  6. Discover the huan element and the Divine element in the situation.
  7. You must see what the writer saw, feel what the participants in the story felt, and hear what they heard.
  8. Use your imagination and put yourself in the place of the writer and participants of the story.
  9. Assume the different roles of the principal characters in the story and act as if you were present when the story was first told.
  10. Ask yourwelf this question: "What special message does this passage of Scripture bring to your people for their healing and renewal?"
  11. Then wait for God to speak.
(Joseph A. Johnson, Proclamation Theology; quoted in Cain Hope Felder, Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation, 35)