The first thought is actually a second hand recollection by Philip Ryken with regard to some thoughts Paul Tripp expressed to him regarding the nature of scripture;

 Paul Tripp made a helpful comment Sunday about the nature of biblical revelation.  The Bible, he said is a “theologically-annotated narrative,” a story that comes with “God’s notes.”  This comment does justice to the narrative structure of the Bible as a whole, while avoiding the trap of thinking only in narrative terms.  The Bible is a special kind of narrative: a theologically-annotated one.  Thus its saving story comes with propositional truths.

I appreciate Tripp’s ‘third-way’ kind of option with discussing scripture in this fashion, though I’m not sure it goes far enough because it still does not allow for the particularities certain books demonstrate over others. For instance Luke-Acts has been discussed along historical-annotated narratival notes; ie Luke’s summary statements. And Psalms as a collection has five seams depicted by benedictory thoughts which though they express a theological message relating the whole in comparison the five-books of Moses, do none the less take their shape along literary-annotated poetry. 

I’m prone to see scriptures nature along three lines – literature, history, and theology; and annotations appear throughout it in each of these particular forms, BUT the line between these is not definite. History contains theological significance, as and literature can convey the impression history is making upon its hearers, etc. Nevertheless Tripp’s thinking has lead me into a better way of raising the question of what the nature of Scripture is by maintaining its narratival form while also asking myself where are the notes-pauses-annotations-summary expressions-etc. that lead and surprise us. A friend of mine has described this rythm in terms of Jazz, I like that…

The second reflection comes from Peter Enns in his second blog post, Why do I like Biblical Theology so much…;

To put it another way, Scripture is a story moving toward a conclusion. That movement is seen by holding in tension two dimensions of the Bible’s own theological dynamic: (1) The theological contours of the OT, which is itself fluctuating, diverse, developing, and (2) observing how the NT writers “take captive” the OT and bring it to bear on the reality of the crucified and risen Christ.

Pete’s reflections get closer to the nature of scripture in my mind than do Tripp’s but then again Pete’s thoughts are framed in a very different context than Tripps, ie in a blog post addressing the matter at hand, whereas Tripp’s reflections come to us second hand from a verbal conversation. Both offer you and I a lot to reflect upon.

This blog piece is classic Enns, the nature of the scripture is found in its Christo-telic shape, it is not found immediately in narrative nor in propositions, but rather in a person who’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension causes the “NT writers to “take captive” the OT and bring it to bear on the reality of the crucified and risen Christ.” For Enns the annotations are not theological in form as much as they are an expression of a new narratival hermeneutic due to a person, ie Christ’s imprint living on through the Spirit in the lives of his people who where people of their period, the 2nd Temple Period, reading and handling scripture in light of him and it.

Love to hear your own reflections on these very gifted theological-church men’s muses…

(Photographic art by Sri Jagnatha, piece entitled “Within Stillness“)