Principles of Biblical Interpretation Determine the teaching intention of the author John 10:28 – no one can snatch them out of my hand. Some say – we can jump out (lose our salvation) BUT – clearly, in the context, John did not intend that at all This point really is the starting place for all the other points Remember the Basic Unit of Scripture Whenever the main passage of Scripture is read Book that will be taught or preached, you should When you study, study in books quickly study it and figure out what the basic Note the structure of the book (outline) points should be (thought outline). Understand the (thought) Outline Many outlines are poor. Outlines should not just tell you what is in that section, but should relate to the sections around Occasion of the Book Argument of the Book Purpose of the Book Use Many Translations NIV & NAS are most common and best overall KJV – hmmm Modern Translations Paraphrase vs. Translation Assume the Clarity of Scripture Always go with the simple, straight-forward, ordinary, obvious, plain, direct, normal, natural meaning unless there is a very good reason not to do so. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, use no other sense or you will have nonsense.” – Dr. Dave Reid 9 Questions for Application Be very careful here. First, find out what the author’s intent is. Let that drive your application. But, as you are waiting on God to speak to you, think about the following. Is there a __________________________ to _____________________________ Example Follow Sin Avoid Promise Claim Prayer Repeat (learn from) Command Obey Condition Meet Verse Memorize Error Mark Challenge Face Meditate, Statio, Pray, Obey, Be Open Meditate Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God Ps119:99 Joshua 1:8 – notice the relationship between meditation and action Psalm 1:1-2 – One of the fastest ways to transforming your life is through meditation Psalm 119:97 Use “wasted time” When driving When standing in line Snatch up 5 minutes of time Buy the Bible on Tape or CD (cheap on Ebay or something) Memory provides the mind with the fuel to meditate – Memory is Key!!! Maybe use TMS (Topical Memory System - from Navigators) Statio (see article in handout) Monastics have a practice they call statio that means, simply, stopping one thing before beginning another. Rather than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times. Before dialing the phone, pause and think about the conversation and the person on the other end. After reading from a book, pause and think back through what you learned and how you were moved. After watching a television show, pause and ask what it contributed to your life. Before reading the Bible, pause and ask for a spirit of attention. Do this often enough and even mechanical acts become conscious, mindful. I find that if I take time to pray for the recipient before beginning to compose a letter or before making a phone call, it makes the task less of a chore and more of an opportunity in which to receive or express God’s grace… Pray – John 1:15 Obey – Jn 17:17 Chesterton – the reason we open our mind is the same as we open our mouth – to close it on something solid. Be Open – Acts 17:11 Stress the Priority of the original languages Reason – the Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic Examples: Matthew 10:28 – “destroy” – signifies loss, not annihilation Romans 1:16 – “power” – from Greek – dunamos – which is NOT where we get the word “dynamite” - don’t read words back into the Bible Look at the Literary Context Genesis 31:39 – not a benediction; context tells us it is two brothers up against each other – it’s to keep them from ripping each other off Isaiah 14:12-15 – not about the devil; context tells us clearly – about the Kind of Babylon History of why some say it’s the devil – Latin – morning star - luciferas Let Scripture Interpret Scripture Luke 4:9 – Satan takes Scripture out of context Jesus responds with Scripture Principles The Obscure is subject to the clear (1 Cor 15:29 – Baptizing the dead is not clear) The narrative is subject to the didactic (stories must be interpreted in light of teaching) Partial is subject to the complete Romans – focus on salvation (so issues of faith and works are subject to salvation) Never Determine the doctrine from the illustration Example: Building a building – used two different ways (1 Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20) Is the beast in Daniel the same as the beast in Revelation (I say NO) Check out the historical and cultural background Mark 2:5 – Jews at the time had detachable roofs – doesn’t mean we should destroy property to get friends saved Matt 5:13 – Salt used to preserve food (no fridges) – so in that context, Christians are to prevent the spread of moral decay Aim for one interpretation with many applications One interpretation may be multi-faceted, but has one interpretation Romans 1:16 Should not be ashamed of the Gospel Are you willing to share your world view in the secular school world Praying in a restaurant BEST INTERPRETATION - #2 – purpose of Romans is the gospel being taught in universal Scope Always proceed from then to now Don’t read now back into the text Numbers 1:20-46 – A census is being taken for war Don’t go looking for hidden meaning to apply to us right now God is a God of Details (no hidden meaning here) Be careful about spiritualization David & Goliath (5 Rocks = 5 key things to hold onto to slay the giants in your life) Allow for the fuller meaning of Scripture Typology Type – an example of further revelation to be shown as a picture today (it must clearly be stated as such in the New Testament, not assumed) In allowing for the fuller meaning, do not do away with what the original audience understood. Message And Fullfillment MESSAGE FULLFILLMENT Authoritative Word From God Unfolding of God’s Plan Understood by prophet, relevant to May be vague or obscure or take contemporary audience unanticipated direction Identified with the author’s intention as guiding Identified often only with the aid of interpreter’s criteria hindsight (or we are still waiting) Uses objective evidence Subjective perspective One Message Possibly many fulfillments Does not change May shift directions Aim of Old Testament Interpreters Elaborated by New Testament Authors Avoid confusion between authoritative truth and inspired record The Bible never lies, but it records lies; Just because it did happen, doesn’t mean it should happen 1 Samuel 31:4 Distinguish between the cultural and the transcutltural Lord’s supper vs. foot washing (Jn 13 – did Jesus intend to make an ordinance out of foot washing?) When the appeal is made to creation (rather than culture) – 1 Timothy 2:11-14 Discern what is more critical and what is less critical Doctrine of Christ is more important than eschatology In Revelation, we often focus on signs and times when the focus should be on who Christ is. Recognize the fact of progressive revelation Abraham knew less about life after death, end times, and the Holy Spirit than we do – so we can’t read back into it our understanding. 2 Samuel 12:23 - But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." – not a statement about babies going to heaven Comprehend the Biblical Covenants How they fit together; How they are different; Everything hangs on them What is their purpose? Are they everlasting? Are they conditional or unconditional? Biggest Question – Are the Church and Israel the same or different The Biblical Basis for Capital Punishment is the Noahic Covenant – and it was never withdrawn Submit to the hierarchy of scripture???? (NO) We must interpret the Gospels in light of the Epistles – yes but that is simply understanding progressive revelation and letting scripture interpret scripture. Know the different types of literature Historical Narrative – Apocalyptic Literature – Vision of the future – highly symbolic Prophecy – message from God (not necessarily about the future) Poetry – Different kinds of parallelism are important to understand Letters – Wisdom Literature – Parables - Understand the use of language Literal vs. Figurative (simile, metaphor, personification, euphemism, idiom) Appreciate that all truth has not been revealed God conceals certain things (Deut 29:29; Prov 25:2) Acknowledge that the finite cannot completely fathom the infinite Like trying to totally grasp the Trinity; Be in Awe! Beware of pride and prejudice Watch out that you don’t believe what is more pleasant and throw out less pleasant stuff Be careful about believing what your favorite author or speaker (pastor) says Don’t conform because of pressure Don’t Prejudge Watch out for hobby horses and pet peeves Importance of teaching expositionally, rather than topically Consider the historical interpretations of the text. How has the Church interpreted this through the years? If you disagree with the classic positions, be very, very careful. You are probably wrong.
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