Thesis Two: Scripture is rightly understood in light of the church’s rule of faith as a coherent dramatic narrative. — The Scripture Project, “Nine Theses on the Interpretation of Scripture”
This is where a Calvinist is supposed to rise up and declare, "Nuh-uh!" Sola scriptura, folks, remember? Except... gosh, despite my self-description in the sidebar... I think this thesis has something sound behind it. It is this: scripture is not meant to be interpreted in a vacuum. Scripture is to be tossed like a ball, chewed like taffy, digested like a rich and delightful meal, passed around like after-dinner mints, fussed over like a beloved child. It is to be read and and debated and struggled over, and these things can really only happen in community. No one mind, however brilliant, however spirited or inspired, can or should bear ultimate responsibility for interpreting the words found in scripture.
The Spirit moves best in community, when and where the Spirit has somewhere to move to. This is not a new idea: far from it. This idea was embodied in the great rabbinic tradition, which encouraged every person (well, OK, every man) to become a scripture scholar. The Christian church famously departed from this and put scripture into the hands of scholars only for nearly 1500 years, until a few brave souls rose up and demanded that it be returned into the hands of the community.
The problem with all I've just written may be that Thesis Two might be read to mean The Church instead of the church; in other words, the experts rather than the entire community, the Rule of Faith as a monolith, unassailable. This member of the community chooses to read the latter interpretation. Scripture is to be interpreted by us all, experts and laywomen and men alike. We neglect any of these voices, and the truth is diminished. We include all these voices, and the dramatic narrative comes to brilliant, full-bodied life.