Know the four basic steps of the interpretive journey.
Step 1 - Grasping the text in their own town.
Step 2 - Measuing the width of the rive to cross
Step 3 - Crossing the principlizing bridge
Step 4 - Grasping the text in our town
Why is order important in following the interpretive journey?
It is important because the theological meaning has application to both Old Covenant and New Covenant audiences. It is important so that we understand the theolgical principles at hand and not "jump across the river," too quickly.
What is a theological principle? Does it apply only to modern readers, or did theological principles apply to the original recipients of Scripture as well?
Theological principles address the meaning of the text. Theological principles apply to both modern and original readers of Scripture. The task is to discover the meaning of the text.
What are some of the barriers that constitute the "river" distancing readers of the Bible from an accurate understanding of the meaning of the text?
How WIDE the passage is, how SIGNIFIGANT the passage is (between them and us today), and also understand how the SITUATION may have created a barrier.
Are theological principles always culturally bound, or can they transcend culture?
Some principles are culturally bound and only apply to certain times, but some can transcend culture (obey God, seeking to know and understand Him, etc.)
What differences exist between modern readers and the biblical audience? How does this affect how we determine the meaning of the text?
Some of the differences include Culture, Time, Language, Situation, and often Covenant. These differences form a river that hinders us from moving straight from meaning in their context to meaning in ours
Know that at the level of observation, we are not yet determining the meaning of the text. Rather, we are simply seeking to know the facts that lie before us.
We want to see as much as possible in our first observation.
Know and be able to distinguish between elements of discourse for which keen observers should look in sentences. These are listed in the textbook and include the repetition of words, contrasts, comparisons, etc.
REPETITION OF WORDS CONTRASTS COMPARISONS
LISTS CAUSE AND EFFECTS FIGURES OF SPEACH
CONJUNCTIONS VERBS PRONOUNS
Comparisons focus on similarities. Look for items, ideas, or individuals that are compared with each other.
Any time you may encounter more than two itemized things, you can identify them as lists. Look for significance...any order? Grouped in any certain way?
Figures of Speech
Images in which words are used in a sense other than the normal, literal sense. (Ex. Lamp to light up darkness). These are powerful because they paint images to which we can relate emotionally.
And, For, But, Therefore, Since, Because
If we imagine the biblical text like a brick house, then conjunctions are the mortar that holds the bricks (phrases and sentences) together. Try to determine what the conjunction connects, don't just skip over them! Therefore/so usually indicates sometime of CONCLUSION
Where the action is
They communicate the action of the sentence
Note imperative verbs (Go!), vs. progressive ideas (I was going, am going, will be going)
Imperative verbs are often COMMANDS TO US (Go!)
Are they ACTIVE or PASSIVE?
Note all pronouns and be sure to note the antecedent (to whom or to what the pronoun refers).
"Our" and "us" in Ephesians 1:3..."Praise is to the God and Father of OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed US in the heavenly places with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Describe the general-to-specific literary
feature that biblical authors often use to communicate ideas to their
An overview or summary of the main idea FOLLOWED by specifics of the idea
Sometimes specific to general might occur.
Do the passage use terms that have emotional energy, like kinship words (father, son) or words like "pleading"?
Action/Role of People
Identify actions or roles that the text ascribes to people or encourages people to do/be
A clause can present the condition by which some action or consequence will result. Like if...then
These are a more specific type of "means," often telling why. They are similar and sometimes indistinguishable. Here, you usually can insert the phrase "in order that." In a result clause , you usually can insert the phrase "so that"
Overlaps with the q and a. Note if text includes dialogue. Identify who is speaking and to whom.
How does the textbook use the term "discourse"?
The term "discourse" is used in a similar manner within the field of linguistics...narrative, hortatory, expositional, and procedural.
UNITS OF CONNECTED TEXT THAT ARE LONGER THAN PARAGRAPHS
It can be two related paragraphs, it can be the story of David and Goliath, or the David narratives
When observing discourse, what does the term "interchange" describe? What does this feature look like in narrative literature?
Interchange is a literary device, used primarily in narrative that involves contrasting or comparing two stories at the same time as part of the overall story development. Usually the narrative will move back and forth from one story to the other, often to show contrast.
Connections Between Paragraphs & Episodes
How does the passage connect to the one that precedes it and the one that follows it?
Story Shifts: Major Breaks & Pivots
Is the passage being used as a key to understanding a dramatic shift in the story?
Does the passage have any chiastic arrangements, like a-b-c-d-c'-b 'a'? Chiasm is a list of items, ideas, or events are structured in such a manner that the first items parallel the last item, the second item parallels the next to the last item, and so forth.
Be able to define and distinguish between preunderstanding and presuppositions.
Preunderstanding has to do with all of our preconceived notions and understandings that we bring to the text, which has been formulated, both consciously and subconsciously, before we actually study the text in detail.
Presuppositions are two distinct entities that we deal with in two quite different ways. We must let our preunderstanding change each time we study a passage. We must submit it to the text and then interact with it, evaluate it in light of our study, and, one would hope, improve it each time. PRESUPPOSITIONS DO NOT CHANGE WITH EACH READING. THEY ARE NOT RELATED TO PARTICULAR PASSAGES BUT TO THE OVERALL VIEW OF THE BIBLE.
Does the textbook suggest that preunderstanding is
positive or negative? Is it avoidable or unavoidable?
Preunderstanding is formed by both bad and good influences.
It can be a positive, but it can also be a negative.
It is inherently unavoidable, but with training and intentionality it can be avoidable.
How does the textbook view presuppositions as they
impact biblical interpretation
Presuppositions generally have to do with our view of the entire Bible...it is accurate, the word of God, written by God, etc. These are good and should not be changed, they serve as a foundation for the believer, and the Christian SHOULD NOT try to set them aside when the read Scripture.
Be able to define and describe what is meant by historical-cultural context.
It involves the biblical writer, the biblical audience, and any historical cultural elements touched on in the passage itself.
It relates to just about anything outside of the immediate text that will help you understand the text.
How does historical-cultural context impact the meaning of the biblical text?
Try to know about the writer of the Scripture as this affects the context (Paul for example)
It impacts the meaning greatly shaping how we should interpret the verse
Why is this kind of context so important when
interpreting the Bible (as opposed perhaps to contemporary literature)?
It is done to try and get the deeper meaning of the text; not the means of itself as the only way to understand Scripture.
The context is important because it affects the way we look at what is going on in the text...person writing, where they are writing, who it is addressed to, the topic, the background, etc.
Be able to list the various tools that are useful for gleaning information related to historical-cultural context. In what particular way does each of these tools aid our understanding of biblical history and culture?
Bible Handbooks - Offer basics; a good place to begin on getting acquainted with the historical-cultural context.
OT and NT Introductions and Surveys - Go into greater details than Bible handbooks, so there is too much info to fit into a single volume.
Commentaries - Best bet for up-to-date info. Always a good idea to consult different commentaries due to the writers point of view
Bible Atlas - people, places, events...maps, political culture, etc.
Bible Dictionary and Encyclopedia - More info about a particular topic mentioned in a passage (Garden of Gethsemane).
Background Commentary - New type of commentary focuses not on the meaning of each passage, but on the historical-cultural background essential to grasping the meaning.
OT/NT Histories - Detailed background information on particular topics within a passage.
Study in ancient life and culture - Detailed discussions on selected topics. Dig deep on a particular topic. Biblical cities, social life, legal matter, s warfare, economic life, etc.
According to the textbook, what is the most important principle of biblical interpretation?
Context Determines Meaning
When we ignore the context we can twist the Scriptures and "prove" almost anything
When applied to the field of biblical studies, to what does the expression "literary genre" refers?
Literary Genre refers to the different categories or types of literature found in the Bible.
In light of the need to study the Bible contextually, is topical preaching ever a valid
approach to preaching the Bible?
Topical preaching is valid ONLY IF the various passages are understood in context and the overall message doesn't violate those individual contexts. IE: be careful when preaching topically.
Note the relationship between context and lexicology. In biblical interpretation, which takes precedence over the other in determining the meaning of words and phrases?
One rule that overrules all: Context determines word meaning. If you take a word out of context, you cannot really tell what it means.
What is etymology? How does a word's
etymology affect the determination of meaning?
Etymology is the history of words, word usage, word meaning.
Word etymology affects its intended contextual application. The goal is to find how the word accurately portrays its meaning
To what does semantic range refer in the field
of lexicology? What role does determining a word's semantic range have in the process of doing a word study?
SEMANTIC RANGE is the word's RANGE OF MEANING. You must look at all the possible meanings of the word so you can then be in a better position to decide what the word actually means in its specific context.In doing a word study...find the range of meaning by exploring the different contexts in which it's used. Find out what it could mean to better find out what it really means.
What is the difference between an autograph and a manuscript in the study of the transmission of the biblical text?
Autograph - The original document of Scripture
Manuscript - Hand written copies
Are there variants among the extant (existing and discovered) manuscripts of the Bible?
Yes there are, but they are small (98% unviable)
How do the transmission of the biblical text and the translation of the biblical text relate to one another? How would you define and distinguish these terms?
Translation is the best attempt to faithfully maintain the exact wording/intent of the words...transmission is the attempt to convey its meaning. They can and should work together.
It attempts to marry together as close as possible to the structure and words of the source language, and bring it together with the meaning of the original text
What approach to translation does the textbook
favor? Does it favor a word-for-word translation, a thought-for-thought translation, or a compromise between the two?
What approach to translation does the textbook
favor? Does it favor a word-for-word translation, a thought-for-thought translation, or a compromise between the two?
To what does textual criticism refer in the
field of biblical studies? Is textual criticism positive or negative? Is it a necessary discipline, or is it arbitrary?
Textual criticism is a technical disciple that compares the various copies of a biblical text in an effort to determine what the original text was most likely. An effort to determine what copies of the Bible most faithfully represent the original text.
It is a necessary disciple
In the field of literary criticism, be able to distinguish between authorial intention and reader response as theories as to where literary meaning ultimately exists
Reader Response: Reader response is the reader feeling free to interpret the author however he or she wishes. The reader response may result in a negative effect in that the author's original meaning may be lost to the reader by taking such a liberty. This lies at the very heart of what the meaning of Scripture is to the reader. Ahtorial Intention: authorial intent. Here, the reader attempts to examine what the
author intended to communicate in their message. It is effectively asking the question, "What is the meaning God intended in this text," versus "What does this text mean to me?" When the Scriptures are interpreted by the reader without reverence as to what the author intended to mean
everything then becomes relative.
Does the textbook favor authorial intention or reader response as the preferred way to read and interpret the biblical text?
The author prefers the authorial intention method for interpreting the Biblical text.
Does the textbook favor the term "literary
meaning" over "literal meaning" when referring to the meaning that the authors of Scripture placed in the text?
The text prefers the term literary meaning over literal meaning.
Literary meaning refers to the meaning the authors have placed in the text.
Literal meaning refers to taking everything exactly as it is.
Be able to distinguish between biblical allegories as a literary device found and used in Scripture and allegorical interpretation as a means of interpreting the Bible.
Biblical Allegory: A story that uses an extensive amount of symbolism. That is, many of the details in the story represent something or carry some specific nuance of meaning. Biblical allegory is in Scripture, it is not a bad thing. It is merely another literary device used in the Bible to convey a message in a colorful way. But is not common.
Allegorical Interpretation: Using allegory as an interpretive method for understanding Scripture can mislead us completely if we interpret a no allegorical text. FEW TEXTS IN THE BIBLE ARE ALLEGORICAL.
What view does the textbook take on "spiritualizing" or "allegorizing" the biblical text?
Spiritualizing: Avoid this. Keep your search for meaning within the historical and literary contexts of your passage
Allegorizing: Avoid this. " "
Be able to distinguish among typology, gem atria, and equidistant letter sequencing as methods of understanding the Bible. Do the authors view all of these favorably or unfavorably?
Typology: Is prophetic - a historical event or person in the Old Testament that serve as a prophetic pattern or example of a New Testament event or person. It is part of the promise-fulfillment scheme that connects the two Testaments together. It is like foreshadowing but it requires a more careful correlation to the New Testament to be sure of its accuracy. DUVALL: An OT passage cannot before confirmed as typological unless a NT passage identifies it as such. The NT must confirm a passage as typology.
Gem atria: The letters in certain words are analyzed for their mathematical value and then equated with other words that have the same value. This can be very difficult and complicated employing different types of math to determine exact word meaning. DUVALL: Gem atria is a result of coincidence made possible by the sheer number of possibilities in the Hebrew and OT.
Equidistant Letter Quenching (ELS): System propagated by Drosnin in The Bible Code. A computer is used to string together a continuous stream of letters. All the spaces are ignored. DUVALL: Nothing behind this but coincidence. They attempt to find hidden messages in the Bible doing this.
ALL THREE ARE ESSENTIALLY VIEWED AS NEGATIVE...BUT TYPOLOGY IS THE MOST PROBABLE IN THAT IT CAN BE PROVED.
What is the traditional definition of "illumination"
when describing the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer? How do the authors further enhance and detail this traditional understanding?
Illumination: The ongoing work of the Spirit to reveal Himself to believers through the inspired work of the Holy Spirit (Scripture)
The believer should not allow personal experience, religious tradition, or community consensus to stand above the Spirit-inspired Word of God
When it comes to biblical interpretation, is the Holy Spirit all that the believer needs to assure an accurate understanding of the Bible? Or, does accurate interpretation require more?
Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that the Spirit is all you need. The Spirit does not make valid interpretation automatic.
This Spirit expects us to use our minds, proper interpretive methods, and good study helps to interpret the Bible accurately.
The Spirit does not create new meaning or pride new information
The Spirit does not change the Bible to suit our purposes or to match our circumstances
In what manner does interpretation relate to
application in the "interpretive journey" (or in the inductive method)? Can application properly precede interpretation?
There is a vast difference between knowing how to apply a biblical text and actually applying that text in your life
Knowing the theological principle and how to apply it is not the same thing as making the application to your life
Application cannot properly precede interpretation
What do the authors mean when they speak of finding a parallel situation to link interpretation with application? Does this in some way put too many restraints on the application of the Bible, or does it ensure a higher degree of pinpointed accuracy in the
application of the text?
Parallel Situation: A situation that contains ALL OF THE KEY COMPONENTS you identified in the previous step (Crossing the principilizing bridge...grasping the text in our own town to be sure it applies in the correct context.
We misapply the Bible when we grab a situation that is not a genuine parallel
This insures accuracy in the application of the text.
Better to be accurate than to have too many wrong applications