For me, what makes a good biblical scholar or theologian is putting all your cards on the table.
Paul’s challenge to the Thessalonians to ‘test everything; hold fast to what is good’ has more or less been my mantra for the past year as I’ve found myself testing (and retesting) assumptions I had about the texts I’m working with, as well as testing (and retesting) the conclusions I’ve started to draw from my research.
I hope that in the midst of that process I’m heeding Paul’s advice and holding fast to what is good (or at least, as far as my own work goes, what has the potential to be good!). Scrutinising all my assumptions and commitments about the biblical texts I’m working on is proving to be quite a painful process but I’m becoming more and more convinced of the necessity of doing so.
Working to expand our self-awareness beyond the point of comfort brings a deeper level of rigor, and this takes on a unique dynamic for those of us for whom the Bible is more than just words on a page but a collection of relational texts and source of authority in our lives.
So, here’s to continued intellectual ‘card laying’ and holding fast to what’s good.
Grace Emmett is a doctoral researcher at King’s College London. She is also co-coordinating the (De)Constructing Masculinity conference with Hannah Burke-Tomlinson. The conference is being held at King’s College London on November 1-2, 2018, as previously advertised on theLAB. Registration is now open, just click the image below.