The Three Worlds of the Text

The Three Worlds of the Text

Interpreters of Scripture live within their contexts. Just as the various books of the Bible arose in a particular historical times and cultures,  so we also live in a particular historical time and culture. It shapes who we are. Exploring the contexts that have contributed to biblical texts, we also seek to interpret them in light of our own context.

  • The World of the Text: This element is text-centred and focuses on the literary elements of scripture and the world presented in the text e.g. Jesus’ world. Just as you can read a novel and examine its plot, characters, literary features and so on,  you can look at the Bible as a text, at its characters, plot and literary features.
  • The World Behind the Text: This element is author-centred and focuses on the social, political, cultural and ideological aspects from the author’s world and his intent e.g. Luke’s world.
  • The World in Front of the Text: This element is reader-centred. Here the reader brings his or her perspective to Scripture e.g. How does this text speak to me in my life?

REd Three Worlds of the Text Video: Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Click here for further reading
Click here for examples of the Brisbane Archdiocese exploring the worlds of Scriptural texts.
Click here for workshop PPT by C. McBryde.