If you read a commentary on any biblical book you will find a discussion of the audience. This goes to who is the original audience for the book. This is helpful for us in our interpretation. For example, the Creation account of Genesis 1 is written to the children of Israel, who lived in a place surrounded by those who worshipped the gods of creation and fertility. Genesis 1 said to them that The Almighty is the lord of the earth, sun, moon and stars. Now, how would we read it differently if Genesis 1 was a paper at a 21st century conference of geologists or astrophysicists?
A larger question is this: who is the Bible written to? Is it to the world of academic scholars, or to preachers, or to sunday school kids? In a recent discussion we tried to say that the Bible is primarily for the community of believers. It is open to anyone to read and exmine, but the community of believers are the intended audience.
Bruce Waltke makes this point in “An OT Theology”, mentioned in a previous post.
“Therefore, it makes sense that a book written about the theology of the Old Testament should be written for the church. After all, this people has more at stake in understanding the Bible’s message than anybody else — they are the ones committed to live out fully the implications of that message to the point of dying for its truth.” p. 19