Reading between the lines
Sir, Responding to John Hughes’ letter (16 May), I think he is unwise to use the term “reading between the lines” for biblical exposition and interpretation. It is far too vague a term for good theology.
It may be that John Hughes’ reader friend believes in the unity of Isaiah, which is still held by a number of the best Old Testament scholars. Perhaps the supreme example is Alec Motyer whose fairly recent mammoth commentary on Isaiah is second to none. ( The Prophecy of Isaiah, Alec Motyer, IVP, 1993).
Also, John Hughes’ reference to many hundreds of ‘Bibles’ is strange as only the Scriptures in the original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) are important. In this area modern textual criticism has agreed very considerably as to the underlying text with less than five per cent disagreement, and with no disagreement over any major doctrine.
As for taking things at ‘face value’, if that means taking the words you see before you seriously, then surely we must take the Bible at face value and apply to it all the scholarship at our disposal.