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Synthesis Reflection Essay on Reading the Scriptures as Literature

August 6, 2013

Based on our discussion on the Philosophies of Knowledge, the layer of meaning that can be considered as absolutist the most is the Literal meaning of the text, because this layer talks about how factual topics that the author wants to talk about, and can be interpreted by looking at what is literally there, making the exposition of the topic “absolute”. Besides this, the literal meaning is often given by the Church, meaning that the meaning that we get from these scriptures come from authority.


Meanwhile, the layers of meaning that can be considered to be relativist is the Author’s meaning, and the Textual meaning of the text, because the information and insights that one gets from these layers are often inferred (since the Author cannot be consulted anymore), and often agreed upon by a majority of people. This leads us to think that the explanation that we get from these two layers of meaning is based on the opinions of different people, and are just cumulated to which ones are more logical and meaningful, making it relativist.


Lastly, the layer of meaning that is considered to be Evaluativist is one’s Personal Meaning, because these conclusions that we personally come up with has been filtered by what we hear from authority, and the arguments that have been brought up. With one’s Personal Meaning, one is able to determine the truths of the scripture based on reason, while staying within the boundaries that the authority, the Church, has influenced us to believe, ultimately making this layer of meaning Evaluativist.


Even though I have not been reading the Bible lately, I can remember the times when I read through the whole Bible years ago, when I was still in grade school. Since I was still young back then, I can say that I read the Bible in between it’s Literal Meaning, and the Author’s Meaning, possibly because I still was not exposed to what the agreed meaning of the text is, as seen by its Textual Meaning. Besides this, I would only read the Bible as how it was written, but then would somehow get what the author is trying to imply because I would take the lessons that wants to be conveyed to us, often about Jesus’s great works and actions, that each passage in the Bible holds. 


Ever since I was young, I loved reading books, and was able to train myself to become a speed reader. Because of this, this was also the way I would read the Bible by reading the passage fast, and only think about the literal meaning that it wants to give off. However, after the lesson on the layers of meaning, I was able to learn to slow down whenever I’m reading, and look deeper into what the text wants to tell me, taking a passage’s Textual Meaning and even my own Personal Meaning into consideration when interpreting the text, which really helped me understand its message better.


Now that I have learned of the existence of the different layers of meaning, I can tell  myself to focus on the other layers of meaning that I did not mind, or know about, in the past. I believe that by taking the deeper layers of meaning, such as the Texual Meaning and the Personal Meaning, then I would be able to make my Bible reading experience a lot richer and fuller.

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