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Missions 101

Intellectual Pride in Interpreting the Bible

Apr. 1, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

A group of students in Cambridge came up with a list of seven common ways pride expresses itself. We list them in our hermeneutics class when we call our student's attention to humility as being the most important and most neglected interpretive virtues. 

1. Using irony or sarcasm gently or subtly to humiliate an opponent.

 2. Not listening to an opposing argument but moving straight to its weaknesses.

3.  Not affording an opposing argument the same charitable interpretation that I would expect my ideas to receive before they were criticized. In other words, assuming the worst.


4.  Arguing ad hominem (attacking the character of the person rather than the content of their arguments).

5.  Pretending I understand something much better than I do, especially in front of non-academics.

6.  Being resentful when people outside my area demonstrate a sound grasp of aspects of it, because I thereby cease to be the fount of all knowledge.

7.  Using terms or phrases I know only some in a group will understand, to create an inner circle and exclude others.[1]

[1] This list comes particularly from Vanhoozer’s “Advanced Theological Prolegomena” lectures.

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

Tags:  humility, pride
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