context is important to exegesis.
No, it's more than that. Every author writes within a context and every reader interprets the written word according to a context. There simply is no 'plain meaning' of Scripture.
this doesn't follow from your statement above. Are you suggesting that God didn't intend to communicate with ALL his people?
No, I'm saying that no text has a 'plain meaning'. Scripture is a collection of texts written and collected in a particular context. It's not direct dictation from God but the written witness of inspired men. If you want to understand what an author meant you need to try to understand it in the context it was written in - this is why I adhere to the Holy Tradition of the Church rather than the tradition of the Reformers.
my context for reading the scripture, the writings of the Apostles, is God-given rationality in strict subjection to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit. I think this is as old as it gets.
If that is indeed the case, why is that we don't see any of the early Fathers agreeing with your reading of Scripture? Surely if yours is the older interpretation it should be evidenced in the early centuries of the Church? If, in fact, you believe that it is, could you perhaps cite some examples?
I prefer the plain sense of scripture under the Spirit's leading ie if there's something I don't understand, I ask him. Jesus tells me to beware of men's traditions.
As I said, no text has a plain meaning. But I'd note that Holy Tradition is not 'men's traditions' (that's what I'd arguing your modern tradition is, in fact) but the faith as delivered to the Apostles. The same tradition that St. Paul admonishes us to hold to, whether written or by word of mouth.
you are free to point it out and indicate where it departs from scripture.
Well your apparent adherence to the two solas would be good starting points.
so you believe that God lies or that he has a poor eye for detail?
Neither. Do you think that Scripture is the direct dictation of God? If so, which version? The idea that Scripture written by human authors (inspired, yes, but still fallible human) could contain inconsequential errors should be hardly difficult to appreciate. Then you've got copyists and translators and the opportunity for error only increases. We don't have any of the original manuscripts, after all.
ok, and where does scripture tell you this? And is "any old way the Spirit likes" not ok?
Scripture tells me the Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth. That Church (my Church) collected the Canon of Scripture as the yardstick by which all doctrine should be measured. That's more than good enough for me. In a similar vein, though, and as you clearly hold Scripture not Church as the ultimate authority, where does Scripture tell you what Scripture is?
well, this is simple, the Holy Spirit has seen to it that the teachings of the Apostles are set down in the Bible - I have no problem with that. Jesus tells me to, "call no-one master on earth". So all my submission is to be to his Holy Spirit.
All of them? You think everything that the Apostles taught is written down in Scripture? Submitting to the Church, whose head is Christ is not submitting to man, but to Christ.
well it must have because I've said nothing that isn't scriptural .
If you believe this to be the case, I repeat my invitation for you to find early Fathers who interpreted Scripture as you do.
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
John 16:12-14 (in Context)
So, by what tradition do you interpret this, contrary to the clear context of the text, to apply to you as an individual rather than the group of Apostles that Christ addressed? Because the 'plain meaning' of that text insofar as such a thing can even exist at all, certainly does not say anything of the Holy Spirit guiding individuals as they read Scripture, which was my question. And where does the episode with Philip and the Eunuch in Acts 8 leave your interpretation? Because it seems to me that it quite roundly refutes your position on individual interpretation.
why is this significant? Scripture itself tells you that, "scripture cannot be broken!
It's significant because as written 'all scripture' cannot include the NT but most certainly did include the whole Septuagint
no doubt both are still capable of sin, did you have anything in mind?
Yes, the fact that most Protestants do not accept the so-called 'Apocrypha' as part of the Canon of Scripture.
no, assumptions are dangerous. I have many Bibles, including the Septuagint. When I evince an inconsistency, you may point it out.
You didn't really answer what I was getting at, though. My question could have been clearer. I own plenty of books that I do not consider Scripture. Some, such as the Didache, are spiritually valuable but not Scripture. Do you consider the so-called 'Apocrypha' to be Scripture or more like how I consider the Didache (or perhaps something else entirely)?
you would need to prove that this was his intention and there is no indication that it was. Furthermore, the consequence of this, were it true, would be irrational since the Spirit indwells every redeemed person thus you are asserting that the Spirit in ME will NOT lead me into truth but the Spirit in some arbitrary, nebulous quorum WILL. Whyever would the Spirit withhold truth from his child? Is THAT your concept of God?!!
In all honesty, the context of the passage argues so clearly for my interpretation of the passage that the only way you can get to your interpretation is to read your tradition into it. There's no way that you can claim to be going by the 'plain meaning' in this instant, so I'd say the onus is on you to explain why you read as you do. I'm saying that Christ claimed to be with us wherever we gather in His name (quite hard for an individual to gather) and He founded a Church with Himself as head which would be the pillar and ground of the Truth. He didn't promise to guide every individual believer to the Truth (and had He done so a quick look at the doctrinal differences in modern - especially Protestant - Christendom would be enough to show it for a lie). How do you distinguish between what the Spirit tells you and what you suppose for yourself? I turn to the mind of the Church. I'm not saying the Spirit lies, but you can certainly lie to yourself as any of us can.
were you wishing to gently insult my intelligence?! I could say the same of you - there is little new under the sun; we all make choices.
No. I've been (more or less) where you are and I was as intelligent then as I am now, I was just misguided. I was just trying to point out that you too adhere to a tradition. Everyone does. The question is which one to choose. I choose the one that I can see evidenced by the saints since the earliest centuries over a tradition that traces it's origins to the reforms of 500 years ago. I always will.
if there is a "tradition" of being led by the Spirit, I'll sign up to it.
There is but it's quite recent compared with the age of the Church.
this is not disputed.
Really? You consider the Church to be a community? I thought you'd just described it as a 'nebulous quorum' above?
this would rather depend on who was indwelt of the Spirit and who wasn't. However, it may surprise you that I don't regard it as highly significant. Do you think God is not capable of establishing his will?
Seeing as you effectively claimed that the Church consists of those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, are you seriously suggesting that all the Church Fathers were outside of the Church while the Reformers were in? I don't want to put words in your mouth but that would appear to be the meaning behind what you have written. Please could you clarify? Of course I think God is capable of establishing His will. I just think that when He tells us that He is going to establish the Church as the pillar and ground of the Truth, that probably tells us the method He will use to do so.