"We would be naive to think that we can hear these narratives with the same clarity that the first hearers did. An equal naivete, however, would be to suggest that we have no access to their situation, or that it is irrelevant to know how the texts originally functioned. One way to proceed is to juxtapose narratives with issues faced by the people of God in the context to which the narratives were addressed. To lay contextual issues alongside narrative should enable illumination of the text, and give breadth and depth to the results of one's interpretation. This approach has the advantage of avoiding an abstract concern about what the author might have 'intended.' Rather, in the juxtaposition of context and text, we are concerned about what issues faced by the audience might have been addressed."
"Although the Word of God is always addressed to a particular situation, the insights gained through hearing it will assist in the hearing of a Word in the contemporary situation." (excerpts from the Introduction, by Terence E. Fretheim)