"Scholar-priests trained to decipher the arcane tongues..."
(Tim) From a January 3, 2011 New Yorker article titled, "God's Librarians: the Vatican Library enters the twenty-first century," here's an explanation of Rome's many-century opposition to laymen reading the Bible that strikes me as pertinent to the scientific exegetes who write books and teach in reformed and evangelical seminaries and colleges, today:
(The Vatican Library) may possess some of the most ancient manuscripts of Scripture in existence, but for centuries the (Roman) Catholic church held that ordinary people shouldn't be able to read the Bible--that the Old and New Testaments themselves should be a kind of "secret history" for everyone but the scholar-priests trained to decipher the arcane tongues in which they were written.
The modern scientific exegete has done the medieval equivalent of denying Scripture to the layman by...speaking and writing as if no one can understand what the Apostle Paul or Moses meant without his highly specialized knowledge purchased from this or that institution of higher learning. Ask youself what the significance is of those study notes bound into the latest ESV Bible that take up between a quarter and half of each one of its pages? Are they completely innocuous? Does the sheer mass of those notes reinforce that precious reformed doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture? Do Baylyblog readers even know what that doctrine is?
Read Bible scholars' comments on Genesis 1-3 or 1Timothy 2 and you must conclude that what an uneducated man understands from the text when he reads it in English is better than nothing, but only slightly. The Bible is not a book for the uneducated. They don't--they can't get it.
Pastors with intermediate degrees issued by scholars with the terminal degree from a pedigreed institution of higher learning must guard the good deposit from the simplistic readings of the pious, but unlearned.