Editors’ note: 

Free PDFs of eight of Carson’s books and more than 300 of his other articles and reviews are available here (explanation here).

We’ve added a free PDF of this recent article by D. A. Carson to his bibliography:

Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Yes, But . . . .” Pages 187-207 in Theological Commentary: Evangelical Perspectives. Edited by R. Michael Allen. London: T&T Clark, 2011.

Carson’s opening sentence:

Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS) is

partly disparate movement,

partly a call to reformation in biblical interpretation,

partly a disorganized array of methodological commitments in hermeneutics,

partly a serious enterprise and

partly (I suspect) a fad. (p. 187, formatting added)

He offers a “Yes, but . . .” reflection on six propositions:

  1. TIS is an attempt to transcend the barren exegeses generated by historical-critical methods, and especially those readings of Scripture that are “historical” in the sense that they are frankly anti-supernatural interpretations determined by post-Enlightenment assumptions about the nature of history. (p. 188)
  2. More broadly, TIS aims to bring biblical studies and theology closer together. (p. 192)
  3. TIS accords greater credibility to pre-critical exegesis—-patristic, medieval, reformational—-than to contemporary exegesis, and especially to patristic readings. (p. 196)
  4. TIS aims to be God-centered as opposed to human-centered (including human-hermeneutical-rules-centered). (p. 202)
  5. TIS commonly insists we ought to read Scripture through Trinitarian lenses. (p. 204)
  6. TIS tends to see Scripture less as a set of propositions disclosing God than as the story of God and his saving plan of redemption. (p. 205)


I am inclined to think that what is most valuable in TIS (and much is), is not new; what is new in TIS varies from ambiguous to mistaken, depending in part on the theological location of the interpreter. (p. 207)