Biblicism is not the attempt to be faithful to Scripture (i.e., to be biblical). Rather, in its extreme form, biblicism is the attempt to read Scripture in isolation. It is the attempt to read Scripture in isolation from the rest of Scripture and in insolation from the ecumenical creeds and the confessions produced by the various churches. It is the attempt to interpret Scripture as if no one has ever read it before. It attempts to interpret Scripture in insolation from the history of the church and especially the history of interpretation. It is the attempt to interpret Scripture in isolation from systematic theology or apart from one or more of the other departments of theology (e.g., practical theology). Not every instance of biblicism manifests all of these tendencies but any attempt to interpret Scripture atomistically or in isolation from the church, or the history of exegesis is, to some degree, guilty of biblicism.
Quite a helpful definition – thanks
Would you consider a bible study that encourages it’s reader to not consult any commentary’s or extra materials (besides itself of course) until after you’ve studied the passage, guilty of Biblicism? Or is this considered a valid technique to encourage us use critical thinking when studying scripture?
In general, I tell my students to read the text for themselves first, then consult other authorities. A Biblicist reads the text for himself and refuses to consult any other readers of Scripture, past or present.