Arising from a Biblical Text - 2011 to 2020
In the 'On Topic' article, we point users to this 9 year old Meta Question to clarify the idea of Questions needing to 'arise from' the text. Now, whilst there are some useful thoughts there, there is only one answer - and it is both negatively voted and deleted. The Question itself has sort of become its own accepted answer. In terms of common voting patterns I see on the site (and participate in myself), the 'common wisdom' seems to interpret "arising from a Biblical text" in an increasingly specific way.
I would suggest there we already have some unwritten exceptions we commonly apply when voting for closure - we often allow questions which consider an entire text, or multiple texts written by the same author, and in some cases even different authors (we obviously don't highlight these in the help centre, but they have been discussed in meta). We also have a norm of 'contradiction' type questions that may compare or contrast passages from entirely unrelated texts - so long as there is a clear hermeneutical justification for doing so.
In 2011 the BH.SE community's concern was delineating the difference between users asking text-focused questions and application-focused questions. In the nine years since, we have received an increasing diversity of questions from a wider range of theological and cultural perspectives. At the worst of times, some users have tried to pass off theologically-focused or 'baiting' questions as "arising from the text" in their view, whilst the community has disagreed and closed them, which has generated accusations of doctrinal bias. Every week we close questions for not 'arising from the text', whilst using the term in a different way from its original intent.
For 2021 and beyond, it would be beneficial to re-hash this question and ensure we have community consensus on what we really mean.
In one of today's new questions "Does Jesus Judge or Not?" there seems to be a divide on whether this "arises from" a biblical text. Several passages have been cited, focused primarily on John's Gospel, but including other texts.
- Do we still affirm the consensus from Richard's 2011 Meta post, that so long as users are trying to interpret texts rather than apply them, questions should be seen as 'arising from' the text?
- If not, how should the community understand the concept of a question 'arising from' a Biblical text? What exactly should this term mean in the way that the community uses it?