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Interpreting Epistles

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					Interpreting Biblical Epistles
  1. Form of Ancient Letters
• Identification of writer and audience
•Greeting (often single word)
•Thanksgiving: polite expression of thanks
•Body of Letter
•Personal News/Greetings
•Single-word Farewell
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
a. AADP: Author, Audience, Date, Purpose
(1) Authorship:
• Note if author identified or anonymous
     (Hebrews)
• See Osborne for discussion of use of scribes
      and pseudonymity
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
a. AADP: Author, Audience, Date, Purpose
(2) Audience:

• Range: From specific to general audiences

• Learn about cultural setting of audience and
     specific church setting
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
a. AADP: Author, Audience, Date, Purpose
(3) Date:

• Use of internal and external evidence

• Often broader possibilities
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
  (4) Purpose: Use Internal Evidence
• Occasion and Purpose Distinction

   Occasion: The initial reason(s) for writing the
   letter; specific reasons why the author picks
   up the pen to write
  Purpose: The broader intention of the author in
  writing the letter
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
b. Historical Reconstruction
• Necessary for interpretation of epistles

   Example: Philippians 2:1-4; 4:2
             Issue of Disunity
2. Paying Attention to Historical
            Setting
Historical Reconstruction
• Necessary for interpretation of epistles

• Danger of Mirror Reading
    Mirror Reading: The conclusion that each
    command or argument of a letter is tied to a
    specific problem in the audience of the letter
      3. Tracing the Argument
• Separation of Clauses
  [point: to isolate individual ideas]
• Identification of Clarifying Conjunctions
  [point: to understand connections between clauses]
• Identification of Relationship between Clauses
  [point: to follow the flow of thought from
   beginning to end]
I ate an entire box of chocolates
  ***


        I was depressed.
Interpreting Biblical Epistles

				
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