“ever-renewed listening and learning”

From John Webster’s The Domain of the Word via Alan Jacobs’s newsletter:

Theological work, including theological interpretation, requires the exercise of patience. This is because in theology things go slowly. We are temporal creatures, we do not receive revelation in a single moment; and we are sinful creatures whose idolatry and inattention are only gradually overcome. It would be a poor conception of theological interpretation which presumed to have acquired Scripture’s meaning in a final way which cut out the need for ever-renewed listening and learning. ‘My soul languishes for thy salvation’, says the psalmist, ‘I hope in thy word. My eyes fail for watching for thy salvation’ (Ps. 119.81f.) We must be patient, suffering God’s works, looking for the coming of the Spirit to instruct us in the truth of the Word. But we must also be patient with others. Augustine, again, considered the activities of biblical interpretation as an exercise of charity through mutual learning, as what he called a ‘way for love, which ties people together in the bonds of unity, to make souls overflow and as it were intermingle with each other.’

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