Yes, so here goes another one of those boring posts. Sorry. Maybe I'll get around to posting something interesting one of these days...
I was reading through a couple posts ago and realized what a crumby job I did explaining things, so I thought we'd try this again.
I realized how often I throw out the phrase "read the Bible as a whole" but fail to really explain what I mean by that. Everyone will agree that you should read the Bible as a whole - after all, it is one book, but I think a lot of people don't understand what that truly means. Assuming you read (and if you didn't, don't feel like you have to :-P) part one of this topic, I'm going to hopefully assume that you understand that I believe that everything in the OT points to the Christ event and does not manifest itself in the modern-day Christian.
I'm just going to look at Steve's comments on part one (thanks, Steve!) and attempt (I'll probably end up flubbing this quest) to answer and explain some of the questions. Steve, don't feel like I'm picking on you. :)
"Now, with that in mind, do you believe that verses can't be quoted, or sections of scripture memorized or meditated upon, for fear of taking them out of context?"
No, I don't believe that. I believe that we should memorize, have quiet meditation, and read selections of the Bible; however, there is a danger in doing that that we must be aware of.
1) If we cut a portion out of the Bible and don't have anything surrounding it, we're going to miss-interpret it. Prophesies that were being foretold about Israel will suddenly seem as if they're being told about us, and laws that applied to the Israel before the Christ Event will seem as if they're applying to us.
2) We tend to want to apply everything to ourselves and will apply those things if not understood in their proper context (not to say we shouldn't be doing a lot of the things in the Bible -but hey! that's living the law of love). However, we do have to remember that Christ fulfilled all the Torah and the whole OT for that matter.
3) People will get what they want out of the Bible. We've all seen how two people can interpret a passage two completely different ways. It's only natural because (unfortunately) we all come to the Bible with a mind that already has decided what it's going to find in it. This can lead to major problems, particularly in "proof-text battles" where two people are finding verses to fight each other with. Because of this, many people think that the Bible contradicts itself over and over. Not so. It has to be read and understood in relationship to how and when it takes place in the unfolding of the renewal of all things.
4) Christianity will (yet again!) look like lists of do's and don'ts. Many times when Christians are feeling down, they'll find a random verse that really helps them pull through. I'm totally all for that person being able to find comfort in a verse, but many times if the person had understood the Bible correctly in the first place, they wouldn't need to find a verse to help them at all. Just seeing God's faithfulness throughout everything and living in faith would be enough to help that person through. Don't think I'm being cruel in saying that a hurt person can't find comfort in the Bible. What I'm saying is that a Christian's ups and downs are all because the Christian doubted God. Whatever made that person think that God was not with them? Was it because they didn't have enough time to do their devotions that morning? If so, not true. Since when does God's grace depend on something we do?
Having said all of that, yes, I do believe that a Christian should meditate on passages and memorize. However, the Christian should be very careful not to fall into one of those traps.
"Another question that would pop out of this conversation, in the realm of Biblical theology, does the bible need to be re-organized to be chronologically accurate?"
No, but everything in the Bible must be understood in relationship to whether it came before or after the Christ event. If it came before, we should see how that thing points to Christ and how Christ fulfilled it, and if it comes after, we should see how it shows the outworking of the restoration.
"You made the point that since our human minds are corrupt and fallible, that our human reasoning is susceptible to make the wrong assumptions about scripture. I agree, however, aren't you depending on the mind to correctly assess "how the Bible fits together " even while using the system of Biblical theology?"
In some ways yes, and in some ways no. It is true that we must use our minds to understand things and that yes indeed, we are fallen and will therefore have holes in our thinking. However, I think letting the Bible interpret itself in the order of how it presents itself is much more fool-proof than taking it and applying it to ourselves. At some point, we are going to have to believe something. We can't just go around thinking nothing is the truth. We do know for sure that the Bible is the truth, and we have a lot better chance of interpreting it correctly if we let it interpret itself by leaving behind our preconceived notions (which is impossible to do :S). It's so, so hard to go to the Bible and try to understand what it means without all your years of getting something else ingrained into you interpreting it for you. But that's where we must have faith that God, through his mercy, is allowing us to grow and mature and to learn about him by his Spirit.
I was going to put all of this as a comment, but I realized how long it was, so I get a free post out of it! Thanks for the discussion, guys.