Expecting too much from a text…

Vickers makes an interesting observation in the beginning of his discussion on imputation.[1] He argues that the debate over the imputation of Christ’s active obedience tends to expect too much from a single text. Thus, critics and advocates of the doctrine “often miss the connection not only between the major texts but between the texts and a larger biblical-theological framework.”[2] Vickers concludes that when a cherished doctrine is not found in an individual text, the only other option is to force the doctrine into it. Confessional Christians are most guilty of this (myself included), since they contend that every biblical terminology has already been appropriately defined by our Confession. Hence, our tendency is to impose our theological convictions upon a verse because it contains a word like justification or righteousness. As Jeff Meyers points out, “…we read the Bible as if the definitions we have attached to our theological vocabulary must be dumped into every biblical occurrence of these same words.”[3] But the Bible is much greater than our confessions and certainly much greater than our incomplete definitions.


[1] Brian Vickers, Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. Crossway Books: Wheaton, IL., 2006.

[2] Ibid. 17.
[3] Jeff Meyers, The Challenge of Theological Terminology.

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