I have finally come home, so to speak. As far as a text is concerned, my journey into theological studies began with Stanley Hauerwas', Unleasing the Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America. With a title like that you are correct to assume the he is an ornery little b-word (choose your own b-word). Incidently, ornery is a fun word. I certainly can't say that my theological education began with this text because that would be in total contradiction the point Hauerwas is trying to make, which is that texts (oh, say, the bible, for example) don't exist as such. They exist because there is a community prior to text that allow's such a text to have authority over them. They have said that such a text serves as a guide, a rule (in the best sense of the word), that keeps them on the road and not in the ditch.
Thus Hauerwas says, "Therefore we cannot ask how we ought to interpret the text because we assume that the text exist prior to such interpretive strategies. We must acknowledge that interpretive strategies are are already at work in shaping our reading, and hence our conception of what a text is."
The interpretive strategy at work is a way of being in the world that is already embodied in the people of God. Yes, the strategy IS a way of being. The Scripture has authority in the sense that that way of being in the world that the Church affirms is captured in the form of a story about ... yes, you guessed it ... about how to be in the world in a particular way as the people of God. The discipline (discipleship) of being a follower of Jesus was already at work when the church discerned (and mind you this discernment occured over hundreds of years) which texts helped them maintain a continuity with the Jesus way. You might say they discerned which texts helped them continue their discipline as followers of Jesus. The need for such an authority became more and more apparanet as the years went on and Christ did not return.