I am reading Kevin Vanhoozer’s classic book, Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Zonderan, 1998), and I came across this timely parable on p. 16.
Kierkegaard said that some people read Scripture like disobedient subjects responding to their king’s decree. Instead of obeying the word from their king, they set out to interpret it. Every day they offer new interpretations about what the king meant, and soon they have so many possible renderings that they get lost in hermeneutics and ignore their need to obey him.
Here is Vanhoozer’s take on Kierkegaard’s point: “The purpose of interpretation is no longer to recover and relate to a message from one who is other than ourselves, but precisely to evade such a confrontation. The business of interpretation is busyness: constantly to produce readings in order to avoid having to respond to the text. What is the purpose of such interpretation? Kierkegaard’s answer is cynical yet insightful: ‘Look more closely, and you will see that it is to defend itself against God’s Word.’”