Biblical Interpretation Brookes Bible College, Spring 2014 Robert Thurman, MA Presuppositions 1. 2. Everyone has presuppositions. Here are the ones I am bringing to this course… I presuppose that we are here today because of our mutual love for God’s Word and that you are willing to engage in hard work and study to learn how to handle the Scriptures properly. I presuppose we agree that the Scriptures are our ultimate authority and that they are uniquely sufficient to provide answers to the questions we will wrestle with during this course. Presuppositions 3. I presuppose that you will not always agree with my understanding of the Scriptures. You are always free to disagree, but if you want to debate, I presuppose you will make your case using the Scriptures and in a loving and respectful spirit. Presuppositions 4. I presuppose I presuppose that you expect to get your money’s worth out of this class, and that you expect me to challenge your thinking and to stretch you academically. Presuppositions 5. 6. I presuppose that you will not always understand everything in the assigned readings. I expect you to read them anyway and get what you can. I presuppose that you will not always understand everything I communicate during lectures. I expect you to ask me questions and don’t stop until I’ve made myself clear. Presuppositions 7. 8. I presuppose that you want to do your best work, and that you want me to tell you how you can improve the work you submit to me. I presuppose that you will face many challenges as you seek to complete this course. I presuppose that you will communicate with me if there’s something I can do to help. Presuppositions 8. 9. I presuppose that we will grow in Christian love and in mutual respect for each other. I presuppose that you are not here for mere intellectual stimulation, but to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior. Presuppositions 10. I presuppose that you will desire and make every effort to turn your theology into doxology. Biblical Interpretation Before we talk about the science of Biblical interpretation, we need to understand the nature of the Bible. When we interpret the Bible, we are not interpreting an ordinary work of literature, but we are seeking to understand the divinely inspired and inerrant testimonies of the Lord. Inspiration of Scripture The doctrine of inspiration: God carried along the human writers of the Bible so that they composed and recorded without error His message to mankind in the words of their original writings. Inspiration of Scripture The doctrine of inspiration is not something that men have imposed upon the Bible. Rather, it is a teaching of the Bible itself. Inspiration of Scripture Let’s look at what the Bible says about inspiration... Inspiration of Scripture 2 Timothy 3:16 shows us the extent of inspiration: All Scripture is inspired. Inspiration of Scripture What is Scripture? The New Testament uses the word “Scripture 51 times. Inspiration of Scripture Sometimes it refers to the entire Old Testament (Luke 24:45; John 10:35). Inspiration of Scripture Sometimes it refers to a particular passage of the Old Testament (Luke 4:21). Inspiration of Scripture Sometimes it refers to a particular passage of the New Testament (1 Timothy 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7). Inspiration of Scripture 1 Timothy 5:18 is significant because it combines a New Testament passage with an Old Testament passage designating them both as Scripture. Inspiration of Scripture Sometimes it refers to a larger portion of the New Testament (2 Peter 3:16). Inspiration of Scripture 2 Timothy 3:16 also shows us the means of inspiration: All Scripture is God-breathed. Inspiration of Scripture 2 Timothy 3:16 also shows us the purpose of inspiration: All Scripture is profitable to make us fully equipped for every good work. Inspiration of Scripture 2 Peter 1:21 shows us the process of inspiration: God moved and bore the writers along (cf. Acts 27:15). Inspiration of Scripture 2 Peter 1:21 shows us the source of inspiration: The writers did not write from their own wills. Inspiration of Scripture Some argue that only the thoughts or ideas expressed by Scripture are inspired. Inspiration of Scripture Some argue that only the thoughts or ideas expressed by Scripture are inspired. Inspiration of Scripture 1 Corinthians 2:13 shows us that the actual words (not just the thoughts) of the Bible are inspired. Inspiration of Scripture Genres or types of inspired materials in the Bible... Inspiration of Scripture Material that came directly from God (Duet. 9:10; 1 Corinthians 11:23) Researched material (Luke 1:1-4). Letters Songs, poetry, wise sayings Inspiration of Scripture Prophetic material (1/4 of the Bible) Historical Materials Other materials (Gen. 3:4-5; Titus 1:12; Rom. 9:1-3) Inspiration of Scripture The Bible’s inspiration teaches us something about how it must be interpreted. The Bible’s inspiration tells us that it is a human book. Inspiration of Scripture 1. Because the Bible is a human book we assume: That it communicates its message according to the normal rules of human language and logic. Inspiration of Scripture 2. 3. That the Bible’s meaning is shaped by the historical contexts and intents of its human authors. The Bible’s meaning is going to be impacted by the culture and language of its human authors. Inspiration of Scripture Because the Bible is inspired we also know that it is supernatural. Therefore we can assume: That humans need divine guidance and power to fully understand its meaning That it reveals the nature and character of God That it is inerrant. Quiz True or False Zuck defines hermeneutics as “the determination of the meaning of the biblical text in its historical and literary contexts.” Zuck says that the work of the Holy Spirit means that some interpreters receive meanings different from the normal, literal, meaning of the passage. Listing According to the text, what are the three steps involved in Bible study? 1. 2. 3-5. Bonus- Name one of the “gaps” an interpreter of the Bible has to overcome. Inerrancy of the Scriptures The doctrine of Inerrancy states: Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching. Inerrancy of the Scriptures Inerrancy applies only to the original manuscripts. However, this does not minimize the importance of this doctrine. Inerrancy of the Scriptures There is deductive evidence for the Bible’s inerrancy. A deduction consists of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. Inerrancy of the Scriptures A. B. C. God breathed out the words of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). God is true. Therefore, the Bible is true. Inerrancy of the Scriptures A. B. C. God superintended over the transmission of His Word (2 Peter 2:20-21). God does not fail. Therefore the Bible does not fail to accurately transmit His Word to us. Inerrancy of the Scriptures There is also inductive evidence for the Bible’s inerrancy. Inductive reasoning bases a conclusion upon the examination of evidence. Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus accepted the plenary inspiration of the Bible (Matthew 4:4, 11-12). Plenary means complete. Inerrency of the Scriptures Jesus accepted the truth of the propositions of the Bible (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus referred to historical figures and events in the Old Testament as factual. For instance... Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed that Adam and Eve and Abel were actual people (Matthew 19:3-5; Mark 10:6-8; Matthew 23:35). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed the Old Testament account of Noah and the ark (Matthew 24:38-39; Luke 17:2627). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were real people (Matthew 8:11; John 8:39). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed the story of Lot and his wife and Sodom’s destruction (Matthew 10:15; Luke 17:28-29). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed Moses and his writings Matthew 8:4; John 5:46). He affirmed that David was a real person (Matthew 22:45). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed the story of Jonah as true (Matthew 12:40). He affirmed that Isaiah was a real person (Matthew 12:40). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed that Elijah was a real person (Matthew 17:11-12). He affirmed that Daniel was a real person (Matthew 24:15). Inerrancy of the Scriptures He affirmed that Zechariah was a real person (Matthew 23:35). Jesus promised that all the Old Testament promises would be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18). Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus promised that God’s Word will not pass away. Jesus promised that it will be fulfilled down to the jots and tittles. Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus based an important teaching on one small word of an ordinary passage (John 10:31-38; Psalm 82). Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus based an important teaching on the verb tense of a Scripture passage (Matthew 22:23-33; Exodus 3:6). Inerrancy of the Scriptures Jesus based an important teaching on one letter of a Scripture verse (Matthew 22:441-46; Psalm 110:1). Reading Quiz 2 True or False1. Historically, the Jewish people have had a singular, unified approach to interpreting the Scriptures. 2. Those who interpret the Bible allegorically do so because they want to emphasize the historical background of the text. 3. The Antioch school of biblical interpretation preferred a more literal understanding of the Scriptures. 4. Luther emphasized seeing Christ in every Old Testament passage. 5. Tyndale stressed the literal meaning of the Bible. Bonus: The idea that obscure passages of Scripture should be interpreted in light of clear ones is called________. Inerrancy of the Scriptures Christians believe in the inerrancy of Scripture because God is ultimately the author of the Bible and because God is incapable of inspiring falsehood or failing. Biblical Interpretation If the Bible is inspired and inerrant, logic dictates it must also be understandable. Theologians refer to this doctrine as the perspicuity of the Bible. We assume that because God superintended over the transmission of the text and guarded its content, that God intended to communicate His message with clarity. Biblical Interpretation That God demands that His Word be obeyed (with nothing added to it or taken away) also tells us that the Bible is understandable. This doesn’t mean that there will not be difficult passages, and it doesn’t mean that the Bible can be understood without illumination from the Holy Spirit. However, the Bible must be understandable for it to be obeyed. Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsHermeneutics: The study or practice of interpretive philosophies or the study or practice of a particular set of interpretive principles Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsHermeneutic: A set of principles guiding the interpretation of a text All of us use a hermeneutic every time we read. Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsExegesis: The process of implementing valid interpretive principles. Exegesis involves investigation into the history, grammar, genre, and literary context of the text. Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsMeaning: The truth intention of the author. How many truth intentions can an author have in a particular text? What is truth? History of Western Thought Pre-Modern Thought (pre 1700s) Absolute truth exists and it is objective Absolute truth comes to us via divine revelation Absolute truth is authoritative and binding Dependence on the supernatural History of Western Thought Pre-Modern Thought (pre 1700s) Modern Thought Absolute truth exists and it is objective Absolute truth exists and it is objective Absolute truth comes to us via divine revelation Absolute truth comes to us via human reason/science Absolute truth is authoritative and binding Rejection of the supernatural Absolute truth is authoritative and binding Dependence on the supernatural (Enlightenment until 1989) History of Western Thought Pre-Modern Thought (pre 1700s) Modern Thought (Enlightenment until 1989) Post-Modern Thought (1989-?) Absolute truth exists and it is objective Absolute truth exists and it is objective Absolute truth does not exist; truth is subjective Absolute truth comes to us via divine revelation Absolute truth comes to us via human reason/science Absolute truth is authoritative and binding Rejection of the supernatural Subjective truth may come from an infinite number of sources No truth can be authoritative or binding Open to the supernatural Absolute truth is authoritative and binding Dependence on the supernatural Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsInterpretation: An understanding of the truth intention of the author. How does your worldview (pre-modern, modern, post-modern) impact your ability to interpret a text? Biblical Interpretation DefinitionsApplication: The use or practice of the author’s truth intention in the interpreter’s personal life. The application of a text is distinct from the interpretation or the meaning of the text. Biblical Interpretation Definitions It is extremely important to not confuse or to muddle these aspects of the interpretive process. What potential dangers might come from confusing exegesis and interpretation, or from confusing interpretation with application, or confusing meaning and application? Quiz Listing: From the axiom, “The Bible is a divine book” stem four corollaries. What are they? 1. 2. 3. 4. True or False 5. The spiritual meaning of the Bible is always more important than the grammatical one. Bonus: Give an example of a biblical command that was changed later. Biblical Interpretation Some parts of the Bible are easy to understand, but much of it is not. There are numerous barriers that every interpreter must cross to discover the Bible’s meaning. Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 1. Pre-understandings- all of us read with biases and assumptions. We tend to be more subjective than objective. It is very difficult for us to approach the Scriptures free from prejudices and assumptions, but these can prevent us from understanding their meaning. Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: We must seek to let the Bible speak for itself by approaching it impartially and objectively. Some examples of how preunderstandings affect our interpretation: If I approach the Bible with the preunderstanding that the earth is billions of years old, how will that impact my interpretation of Genesis 1? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: If I approach the Bible with a preunderstanding that the church has replaced Israel how would that impact my interpretation of Genesis 12:1-7, the Mosaic Law, or Revelation 7:4? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 2. Time/Historical Context- the oldest books of the Bible were written almost 1500 years before Christ; the newest was written less than 100 years after Christ’s birth. We don’t always immediately know why a book, passage, or verse was written. We don’t always know what was going on historically that prompted the writing. We also have to keep in mind the progress of revelation. Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: Does the historical situation of the original readers affect how they would have interpreted a text? How might we interpret Genesis differently if we do so remembering that it was written to people who had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: How might we interpret Isaiah 7:14-16 differently if we know the historical context? How might not understanding the historical situation behind the book of Philemon impact our ability to arrive at its meaning? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 3. Language- the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. All three languages use words and employ expressions that are difficult to translate or understand. Why does Colossians 1:15 say Jesus is the firstborn of creation and 1:18 say he is the firstborn of the dead? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 4. Culture- the people of the Bible had customs not relatable to us. Misunderstanding their customs can lead to misinterpreting the text. Why did Ruth spend the night sleeping in a barn at the feet of Boaz? Why did Jonah not want to go to Ninevah? Biblical Interpretation What was Elisha asking Elijah for when he requested a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (1 Kings 2:9; cf. Dt. 21:17)? Why does Amos call the women of Bethel “cows of Bashan” in Amos 4:1? Why did Jesus reject the man in Luke 9:59? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 5. Geography- Very often understanding the setting for an event helps us to understand the event more clearly. Why did Jesus speak of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho in Luke 10:30 when Jericho is north of Jerusalem? Biblical Interpretation What is significant about Jesus calling the church in Laodicea lukewarm in Rev. 3:16? Why did Samuel ask God to send rain as a sign in 1 Samuel 12:17? Why did David not offer a sacrifice for his sins involving Bathsheba? (Ps. 51) Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 6. Religion- The actions of people in the Bible and the way they would have understood the events recorded in the Bible would be impacted by their religious views. Biblical Interpretation Why did God send the plagues upon Egypt? Why did Elijah challenge the prophets of Baal to meet him on Mount Carmel? Why did the Herodians, Saducees, and Scribes ask Jesus the questions they did in Mark 12:13-28? Biblical Interpretation Barriers to the interpretive process: 7. Genre- We know to read a poem differently than we read a science textbook. In the Bible, we encounter literary genres that may be unfamiliar- laments, parallelism, imprecatory psalms, prophecy, etc. 8. Literary context- Without understanding how a verse or passage fits into the book, it is very difficult to be certain you’ve interpreted correctly. The original readers read the entire work at once, whereas sometimes we attempt to interpret verses isolated from the text around them. Biblical Interpretation Crossing these barriers in study is the work of exegesis, which must take place before interpretation or application. Quiz 1. ________ is the total pattern of human behavior, thought, speech, action, and artifacts. 2. ________ includes the paragraph and book in which verses occur and the historical-cultural environment at the time the verse was written. 3 & 4. ________ and _______ are two aspects of culture that impact biblical interpretation. True or False 5. ____ All Scripture should be received as normative for every person in all societies of all time unless the Bible limits the audience. Bonus: Name a specific biblical cultural issue discussed in the chapter Biblical Interpretation Hermeneutical Approaches: There are four primary hermeneutical approaches to Scripture commonly found in Christianity today: 1. Grammatical-historical-mythological- this idea assumes that the meaning of the Bible is obscured by the mythologies, culture, oral traditions, and prejudices, of the writers and later editors. Biblical Interpretation This is the hermeneutical approach of theological liberalism. Those who practice it deny the plenary (complete)-verbal inspiration of Scripture. This method assumes that most Bible books either evolved over time through the work of various editors or that they were written in times later than the books seem to purport. Biblical Interpretation This hermeneutic relies on higher criticism and involves trying to identify distinct voices within the text and then trying to determine the source of each voice. The goal of this approach is not about finding God’s message, but in learning about what men have thought about God at various times in history. Biblical Interpretation ExamplesThe Documentary-Hypothesis theory The Jesus Seminar Biblical Interpretation 2. Grammatical-historical-existential- this approach involves reading the Bible for the purpose of seeking an existential encounter with Jesus Christ. The truth intention of the author is not seen as important as the experience of each individual reader. Biblical Interpretation This is the approach of Neo-orthodoxy (Barthian). Barth denied the plenary-verbal inspiration of Scripture and embraced many of the same attitudes toward the Bible as theological liberals. However, unlike liberals, he did not deny that the Bible has a supernatural element. Biblical Interpretation Barth distinguished between the words of Scripture and the “matter” of Scripture. He described the “matter” of Scripture as that place where the reader encounters Christ. This hermeneutic has become very common among evangelicals. Biblical Interpretation 3. Grammatical-historical-theological method- pays attention to the grammar and history of the Biblical text, but the interpretation of the text is ultimately guided by a set of theological preunderstandings. Biblical Interpretation If the literal or normal interpretation of the text is contrary to the theological preunderstanding of the interpreter, the text is interpreted in an allegorical or spiritual manner. This approach is used by creedal/confessional Christians. Biblical Interpretation If the literal or normal interpretation of the text is contrary to the theological preunderstanding of the interpreter, the text is interpreted in an allegorical or spiritual manner. This approach is used by creedal/confessional Christians. Biblical Interpretation The most prominent evangelical use of this approach is found in Covenant Theology. Biblical Interpretation When studying the Old Testament, especially Old Testament prophecies, a covenant theologian does not ignore grammar or history, but he does not allow them to be the ultimate determining factor in his interpretation. Instead, he filters the results of a grammatical and historical exegesis through a set of theological pre-understandings. Duncan, Dispensationalism– A Reformed Evaluation Thomas, 66 Biblical Interpretation This theological method assumes that Christ or the New Testament Church has brought fulfillment to every Old Testament prophecy. Therefore, the covenant theologian does not see the original contextual meaning of the Old Testament author as conclusively authoritative. He believes that the New Testament often changes the clear contextual meaning of Old Testament passages. Duncan, Dispensationalism– A Reformed Evaluation Thomas, 66 Biblical Interpretation "In Covenant Theology there is the tendency to impute to a passage a meaning which would not be gained merely from their historical and grammatical associations“ (Daniel P. Fuller, The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism), 147 . Biblical Interpretation In other words, the covenant theologian gives the New Testament hermeneutical control over any interpretation of the Old Testament. Covenant theologian, Ligon Duncan, affirms this when he states: “Later revelation, by definition, controls the final Systematic Theological understanding of earlier revelation.” Duncan, Dispensationalism– A Reformed Evaluation Ibid. Biblical Interpretation Since covenant theologians see all Old Testament prophecies as ultimately fulfilled in either Christ or the church, their theological hermeneutical method frequently forces them to “spiritualize” Old Testament promises to Israel. Showers, 24 Biblical Interpretation Covenant theologian, Anthony Hoekema, affirms this when he states: “The Old Testament must be interpreted in light of the New Testament and that a totally and exclusively literal interpretation of Old Testament prophecy is not justified.” Anthony A. Hoekema, “An Amillennial Response to Dispensational Premillennialism, in The Meaning of the Millennium, Four Views, ed. Robert G. Clouse (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977), 55 Biblical Interpretation Covenant theologian Lorraine Boettner provides an excellent example of what it means to spiritualize an Old Testament prophecy when he gives his commentary on Isaiah 11:6–9. A normal literal-grammatical-historical interpretation of this passage would conclude that this is a prophecy about the restoration of creation to a pre-fall state that will take place during the yet future millennial reign of Christ on the earth. However, using his theological presuppositions to interpret this text, Boettner says that it “refers to a spiritual transformation as in Saul of Tarsus, who was changed from a vicious wolf-like persecutor to a lamb-like follower of Christ.” Lorraine Boettner, The Millennium (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1958), 90 Biblical Interpretation 4. Literal-Grammatical-Historical- seeks to interpret the Bible without pre-understandings following the normal rules of language and logic. This hermeneutic is the most traditional evangelical approach to Scripture, but today is usually associated with Dispensational Theology. It assumes plenary-verbal inspiration of the Bible. Biblical Interpretation "The aim of grammatico-historical method is to determine the sense required by the laws of grammar and the facts of history. Thus, the grammatical sense is the simple, direct, plain, ordinary, and literal sense of the phrases, clauses, and sentences. The historical sense is that sense which is demanded by a careful consideration of the time and circumstances in which the author wrote. It is the specific meaning which an author's words require when the historical context and background are taken into account" Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology), 88. Biblical Interpretation A literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutic is literal in that it seeks to understand the normal or plain sense of each Bible passage. Robert Thomas describes this method when he states: “Take each statement in its plain sense if it matches common sense, and do not look for another sense.” Robert L. Thomans, Evangelical Hermeneutics– The New Versus the Old (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2002), 155 Biblical Interpretation According to this method every Bible passage, regardless of genre, according to the same method. The biblical passage is interpreted normally according to the normal laws of human language. Biblical Interpretation That the text is approached literally does not mean that he ignores symbols, figures of speech, or types. Biblical Interpretation Charles Ryrie states: “Symbols, figures of speech, and types are all interpreted plainly in this method, and they are in no way contrary to literal interpretation. After all, the very existence of any meaning for a figure of speech depends on the reality of the literal meaning of the terms involved. Figures often make the meaning plainer, but it is the literal, normal, or plain meaning that they convey to the reader.”  Ryrie, 80-81 Biblical Interpretation Roy Zuck concurs when he states: “Figurative language then is not antithetical to literal interpretation; it is a part of it. Perhaps it is better not to speak of ‘figurative versus literal’ interpretation, but of ‘ordinary-literal’ versus ‘figurative-literal’ interpretation.”  Roy B. Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth (Wheaton, IL:Victor, 1991), p. 147 Biblical Interpretation The method is grammatical in that it pays close attention to the normal rules of grammar and communication when interpreting the Bible. Adherents interpret the Bible as one would any other form of written communication. Biblical Interpretation This method assumes that God’s revelation follows the rules of the human language it employs, and he assumes that God communicated his word in a way that would be clear and understandable to humanity. Biblical Interpretation Charles Ryrie states: “If God is the originator of language and if the chief purpose of originating it was to convey His message to humanity, then it must follow that He being all-wise and all-loving, originated sufficient language to convey all that was in His heart to tell mankind. Furthermore, it must also follow that He would use language and expect people to understand it in its literal, normal, and plain sense.” Ryrie, 81 Biblical Interpretation This hermeneutical method is historical in that it seeks to understand each Bible passage in its historical context. It seeks to understand each passage as the human writer and the original readers would have understood it. Using the rules of grammar and the facts of history, the dispensationalist looks for a singular meaning in each passage that is determined by what the human writer intended to communicate. Thomans, 242  Ibid., 242 Biblical Interpretation "The aim of grammatico-historical method is to determine the sense required by the laws of grammar and the facts of history. Thus, the grammatical sense is the simple, direct, plain, ordinary, and literal sense of the phrases, clauses, and sentences. The historical sense is that sense which is demanded by a careful consideration of the time and circumstances in which the author wrote. It is the specific meaning which an author's words require when the historical context and background are taken into account" Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology), 88. Biblical Interpretation The most fundamental principle in grammaticohistorical exposition is that words and sentences can have only one significance in one and the same connection" This does not mean that later revelation cannot provide a fuller meaning for earlier passages, but it is to say that later revelation does not change the original plain meaning of the older revelation. Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology), 88 Biblical Interpretation Beginning the Exegetical ProcessBefore determining what the text means, we must first determine what it says. How to read carefully A.The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1.Repetition of words a.How many times does the word occur in the passage? b.Is the word used in the same way each time (noun, verb, etc.)? c.Is the word modified the same way each time (articles, adjectives, adverbs)? d.Is the word connected to other words the same way each time (prepositions)? Biblical Interpretation Example Passages1 John 2:15-17 (look for world) 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (look for comfort) John 15:1-10 (look for remain) Matthew 6:1-18 (look for Father) Biblical Interpretation Beginning the Exegetical Process Before determining what the text means, we must first determine what it says. How to read carefully A. The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1. Repetition of words 2. Contrasts- Look for items, ideas, and individuals that are contrasted with each other. Example Passages Psalm 1:1-6 Proverbs 14:31 Proverbs 15:1 Biblical Interpretation Romans 6:23 Ephesians 5:8 1 John 1:5-7 How to read carefully A. The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1. Repetition of words 2. Contrasts3. Comparisons- Look for ideas, items, individuals compared with each other Example Passages: Proverbs 25:26; James 3:3-6; Isaiah 40:31 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully A. The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1. Repetition of words 2. Contrasts 3. Comparisons 4. Lists- When you encounter more than two itemized things, you can identify them as a list Example Passages- 1 John 2:16; Galatians 5:22-23; 5:1921 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully A.The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1.Repetition of words 2.Contrasts 3.Comparisons 4.Lists 5.Cause and Effect- Look for the effect of each cause and the cause of each effect. There may be more than one effect from a single cause in the text Example Passages- Proverbs 15:1; Romans 6:23; Romans 12:2; John 3:16; Psalm 13:6; Colossians 3:1 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully A.The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1.Repetition of words 2.Contrasts 3.Comparisons 4.Lists 5.Cause and Effect 6.Figures of speech- these are images in which words are used in a sense other than the normal, literal sense. Example Passages- Psalm 119:105; Matthew 23:27; Psalm 18:2; 1 Corinthians 3:6; Luke 13:34 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully A.The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1.Repetition of words 2.Contrasts 3.Comparisons 4.Lists 5.Cause and Effect 6.Figures of speech 7.Conjunctions- Look for words like but, therefore, for, since, because, etc. and find out what they contribute to what the verse says. Example Passages: Romans 6:23; 12:1; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 1:7-8; Genesis 6:8 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully A.The Sentence Level- Look for the following 1.Repetition of words 2.Contrasts 3.Comparisons 4.Lists 5.Cause and Effect 6.Figures of speech 7.Conjunctions 8.Verbs a.Identify what kind of verb is used- past, present, future tense? Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully 8. Verbs a. Identify what kind of verb is used- past, present, future tense? b. Is the action expressed ongoing? c. Is it imperative (Be, Go, etc.)? Example of imperative verb- Ephesians 4:2-3 d. Is the verb active or passive? Examples of active and passive verbs- Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:11; Genesis 12:3 9. Pronouns- Find the antecedent Examples- Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 1:27-30 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B. The Paragraph Level- In addition to looking for the things we learned to look for in sentences, we need to look for the following: 1. General and Specific- Sometimes an author will introduce an idea with a general statement, and then follow this general statement with specifics of the idea. Example passages- Galatians 5:16 (General), 5:19-21 (Specific), 5:22-23 (Specific); Romans 12:1 (General), 12:9-13 (Specific); 1 Corinthians 13:13 (General), 1 Corinthians 13:1-12 (Specific) Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B. The Paragraph Level1. General and Specific2. Questions and Answers- Sometimes biblical writers ask a question and then answer it. Example passages- Romans 6:1 (Question), 6:2 (Answer); Mark 2:7 (Question), 2:10 (Answer); 2:16 (Question), 2:17 (Answer); 2:18 (Question), 2:19 (Answer); 2:24 (Question), 2:25, 27 (Answer); 3:4 (Question), 3:6 (Answer) Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B. The Paragraph Level1. General and Specific2. Questions and Answers- Sometimes biblical writers ask a question and then answer it. 3. Dialogue- Note that dialog is taking place. Ask the following: a. Who are the participants? b. What is the setting? c. Who is speaking to whom? d. Are other people around? e. Are they listening? f. What is the tone of the dialog (friendly, argumentative), etc. g. What is the point of the dialog? Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.DialogExample passages- Habakkuk 1:1-4, 5-11, 12-2:1, 2:2-20 4.Purpose Statements- These are phrases that describe the reason, result, or consequence of some action. They are frequently introduced by conjunctions like “that,” “in order that,” “so that,” and “to.” Example passages- Eph. 2:10; John 3:16; John 15:16; Duet. 6:3; Ps. 119:11 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.Dialog4.Purpose Statements5.Means (by which something is accomplished)- When an action, result, or purpose is stated, look for the means that brings it about. Example passages- In Romans 8:13, what is the means by which the misdeeds of the body are put to death? In Psalm 119:9, what is the means by which a young man keeps his way pure? Quiz- Chapter 8, Basic Bible Interpretation True or False 1. ___ An antitype is the opposite of a type. 2. ___ A type represents something to come, but a symbol has no time reference. 3. ___ A person would not normally associate a symbol with what it symbolizes. 4. ___ When a prophetic passage clearly uses some symbols we should assume that everything in that passage should be understood as symbolic. 5. ___ Since many numbers in the Bible have symbolic connotations, we know that we should not interpret numbers literally. Bonus: ___ We should always look for symbolic meanings in the names of people in the Bible. Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.Dialog4.Purpose Statements5.Means (by which something is accomplished)6.Conditional Clauses- (usually if then statements)- always determine exactly what the required conditional action is (the if part) and what the result or consequence is (the then part). Example passages- 1 John 5:16; 2 Cor. 5:17; James 1:26; Duet. 28:1 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.Dialog4.Purpose Statements5.Means (by which something is accomplished)6.Conditional Clauses7.The Roles/Actions of People & the Roles/Actions of God- What does God do in this passage? What do people do in this passage? Example passage- Ephesians 5:1-2 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.Dialog4.Purpose Statements5.Means (by which something is accomplished)6.Conditional Clauses7.The Roles/Actions of People & the Roles/Actions of God8.Emotional Language- Look for words and phrases with emotional overtones like “Father,” “Mother,” “Son,” “Daughter,” “Beloved” and “plead.” Example passages- Jer. 3:19-20; Gal. 4:12-16 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph Level1.General and Specific2.Questions and Answers3.Dialog4.Purpose Statements5.Means (by which something is accomplished)6.Conditional Clauses7.The Roles/Actions of People & the Roles/Actions of God8.Emotional Language9.Tone- what is the tone of the passage? Angry, gentle, loving, sorrowful, hostile, scolding? Example Passages- Col 3:1-4, Gal. 3:1-4; Matt. 23:33-35; Lam. 3:1-6 Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph LevelC.The Pericope Level- A pericope is a distinct unit of thought longer than a paragraph- a story, an episode, a sermon, a chapter. At this level, we use all the skills we’ve learned so far, but we add a few more. 1.Connections between Paragraphs and Episodes- look for connections between paragraphs, and look for connections between episodes in narratives. Example passages- How is Mark 8:22-26 connected to 8:14-21 and to 8:27-30? How is Colossians 1:1-8 connected to 1:9-14? 2.Story Shifts (Breaks and Pivots)- A major break is a shift in topic, we look for these primarily in teaching passages like those found in the NT letters. A pivot is an episode that changes the direction of a narrative. Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph LevelC.The Pericope Level1.Connections between Paragraphs and Episodes- look for connections between paragraphs, and look for connections between episodes in narratives. 2.Story Shifts (Breaks and Pivots)Example passages- a major break occurs when Paul moves from Colossians 1-3 to chapter 4. A pivot in the narrative about the life of David happens in 2 Samuel 11-12. Look at David’s life before and look at his life afterwards. Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph LevelC.The Pericope Level1.Connections between Paragraphs and Episodes- look for connections between paragraphs, and look for connections between episodes in narratives. 2.Story Shifts (Breaks and Pivots)3.Interchange- interchange involves contrasting or comparing two stories at the same time as part of the overall development of a narrative. Examples- 1 Samuel- Eli and his worthless sons are compared to Hannah and her godly son. Why? The writer wants us to see how Samuel is different than the corrupt leadership he replaces. Acts1-7 are about Peter, Acts 7:58-8:3 is about Paul, 8:14-25 is about Peter, Acts 9 is about Paul, but Acts 10:1-11:1-18 is about Peter. Acts 11:19-30 is about Paul, but Acts 12 is about Peter, the rest of the book is primarily about Paul. Biblical Interpretation How to read carefully B.The Paragraph LevelC.The Pericope Level1.Connections between Paragraphs and Episodes2.Story Shifts (Breaks and Pivots)2.Interchange3.Chiasm- a common feature of Hebrew literature Biblical Interpretation Example- Genesis 11:1-9 a.the whole world (1) b.had one language (1) c.Shinar and settled there (2) d.Come, let’s make bricks (3) e.Come, let us built (4) f.a city with a tower (4) g.but the Lord came down (5) f.to see the city and the tower (5) e.that the men were building (5) d.Come, let us go down and confuse their language (7) c.Babel-because there (9) b.the Lord confused the language (9) a.the whole earth (9) Biblical Interpretation Determining Historical/Cultural Context Since God spoke His message in specific historical situations (i.e., to people living in particular places, speaking particular languages, adopting a particular way of life) we should take the historical/cultural background of each Bible passage seriously. Scripture was God’s Word to other people before it was God’s Word to us. For our interpretation of a text to be valid, it has to be consistent with the historical-cultural context of the text. Historical/cultural context involves the Biblical writer, the original audience, and any historical or cultural elements that will help you understand the text. Biblical Interpretation Determining Historical/Cultural Context The following questions can help you investigate the historical cultural context of a Bible book or passage: 1.Who was the writer? (Read Philippians 3 and 1 Timothy 1:16. How does knowing about Paul’s background add to your understanding of these verses?) 2.What was the writer’s ministry? 3.What is the relationship between the writer and the people? (compare Galatians 1 with 1 Thessalonians 1). 4.Why did the writer write this portion of Scripture? (Why did Moses write Genesis? Why did Luke write his gospel and Acts?) Biblical Interpretation Determining Historical/Cultural Context 5. Who was the Biblical audience? 6. What were the circumstances of those in the audience? 7. How was their relationship to God? (Consider the Judeans during the time of Jeremiah, the Galatians, etc.) 8. What kind of relationship did they have with each other (Consider the division in the Corinthian church; how were Philemon and Onesimus related?) 9. What was happening at the time the book was written? 10. Are there any other historical/cultural factors that might shed light on the book? Biblical Interpretation Resources for investigating Historical/Cultural Context Bible Handbooks 2. Commentaries 3. Old Testament/New Testament Surveys 4. Bible Atlases 5. Special studies in ancient life and culture 6. Computer software like Logos and BibleWorks Word Studies We must always try to understand as precisely as possible what the author meant to convey by his use of his words in their context. Common Word Study Mistakes1. English Only Mistakes- Because the Bible was not originally written in English, it must be translated into English from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. 1. Biblical Interpretation Common Word Study Mistakes1. English Only Mistakes- Because the Bible was not originally written in English, it must be translated into English from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. a. Therefore, you may not realize that a word in Hebrew or Greek may be translated into English with a number of different English words. For example paraklesis is sometimes translated comfort, but other times it is translated exhortation. Comfort and Exhortation can mean different things in English. b. You may not realize that several different Hebrew or Greek words might be translated into English with only one English word. For example there are 6 Greek words all translated comfort in English. The English Only mistake occurs when you base your word study on the definition of the English word rather than on the definition of the word in the original language. Biblical Interpretation Common Word Study Mistakes2.Root Mistake- It is a fallacy that you can always determine the meaning of a word by understanding its root. This is true even in English. Is a butterfly made of butter? Do pineapples grow on pine trees? Context is more important than etymology. 3.Time-Frame Mistakes- Sometimes word meanings change over time. Often we try to take the more modern meaning of the word and insert it into the text (the reverse is possible, but happens less frequently). For instance, how many of you have heard that the word translated power in Romans 1:18 is the word from which we get our word dynamite. Was Paul thinking of dynamite when he wrote Romans? 4.Overload Mistake- Most words can have more than one meaning depending on their context. Don’t try to attach all the possible meanings to a word in one instance. Context determines meaning. Biblical Interpretation Common Word Study Mistakes5.Word Count Mistakes- It is a mistake to think that a word must have the same meaning every time it occurs. (ex. kosmos). Again, word meanings are determined by context in the passage. 6.Word Concept Mistakes- Don’t think that because you’ve studied a one word that you have studied the entire concept represented by that word. For example, studying the Greek word ekklesia will not tell you everything you need to know about the New Testament church. 7.Selective-Evidence Mistakes- Sometimes you will be tempted to dismiss evidence so that you can define a word according to what you want it to mean. The Scripture should change our views; our views should not change the Scripture. Biblical Interpretation For help with word studies use, concordances, Bible dictionaries, lexicons, and commentaries. You don’t need to do a word study on every word in a passage. Choose words carefully. Choose only those words that have meanings crucial to understanding the passage. Never forget that context determines meaning. Biblical Interpretation Meanings or Meanings A major debate in hermeneutics today is who controls the meaning. Is the meaning controlled by the author or by the reader? All of us at times reinterpret literature to make it mean what we want it to mean. For example: We listen to songs at times and the only way we can enjoy them is to ignore what the author wanted to communicate (I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends; Let Freedom Ring) We read stories and watch movies and we are often ignorant or we ignore what the author intended to communicate (Wizard of Oz, Star Wars). We often do this with the Bible, but is this right? Biblical Interpretation Those who hold to authorial intent argue that the meaning of a text is the truth intention of the author. They believe in what we call authorial intent. However, others hold to the idea that the reader controls the meaning of a text. This idea is called reader response. If we are reading something that does not communicate an important or authoritative message to us, it may be harmless for us to make what we are reading mean what we want it to mean. But if we are reading something that contains important or authoritative truth, it is dangerous not to grasp the meaning. Biblical Interpretation If we fail to understand the meaning of the Biblical text, we could be in grave danger. The Bible communicates to us what God requires. Therefore, we are saying in this class that the only valid meaning of a biblical text is the truth intention of the author. Our understanding of the author’s meaning is our interpretation. What we do with the author’s meaning is our application. It is vitally important that we not confuse these terms. Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? All of us are tempted at times to look for different levels of meaning in a biblical text. We have all seen this modeled. People try to assign various levels of meaning to the Bible through the following means: 1.Spiritualizing- those who do this see a dichotomy between the literal meaning of a text and its spiritual meaning. However, there is no such dichotomy, because the spiritual meaning of the text can’t be different than the literal meaning Examples: Luke 15:8-10 What does this passage mean? How many meanings or layers of meanings can you devise? Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? We could come up with many spiritual meanings of the text. Some of them might be theologically true. However, all of them miss the point that Jesus was communicating. We need to seek the meaning God intends and not a meaning created in our imaginations. Prior to the Reformation spiritualizing the text was considered virtuous and proper by many in the the church. Spiritualizing the text was seen as a way of making every text speak directly of Christ and directly to our lives. Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? This fuller meaning is referred to as sensus plenior. A few centuries after Christ there was a popular four-fold system of biblical interpretation. The system saw four levels of meaning in every biblical text- literal, allegorical, moral, and spiritual. For example, the word Jerusalem could mean 1) literal- a city; 2) allegorical- the church; 3) moral- the human soul; 4) spiritual- heaven. Hopefully, you can see how dangerous this interpretive scheme could be. The Reformers took the Protestant church away from this kind of scheme, but there are still other ways of missing the author’s intent. Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? 1.Spiritualizing 2.Allegorizing- an allegory is a story that uses an extensive amount of symbolism. The Bible occasionally uses allegories. For example Isaiah 5:1-7. However, it is dangerous to interpret a nonallegorical text as if it were allegorical. Doing so takes us away from God’s intended meaning. Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? Some examples of allegorizing Exodus 27:19… “The pins, or nails, [tent pegs] of the Tabernacle were made of brass; therefore they did not rust. As they withstood every desert storm, even so Christ’s holy life withstood every onslaught of Satan. How minutely the details of the God-given pattern for the Tabernacle in the wilderness foreshadow the glories of our crucified and risen Lord!” Louis Talbot, Christ in the Tabernacle (Wheaton, Il.; Van Kampen, 1942) 89 Biblical Interpretation Does the Bible contain levels of meaning? “We repeat the pins were buried in the ground, but also emerged from the ground, and it speaks of the death and resurrection, that which is buried, and that which is above the ground. The part of the pins beneath the ground becomes a symbol of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ; the part above the ground suggests His resurrection.” Martin R. Dehaan, The Tabernacle (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 65 Biblical Interpretation The Bible does use symbols frequently, but the symbols cannot mean something that would have not been understood (at least in part) by the original audience. We have a tendency, especially with the Old Testament to attach New Testament meanings to symbols in the Old Testament without paying attention to what that symbol would have meant to the original audience. This is certainly what we’ve seen in the preceding quotes from Talbot and Dehaan. Here’s another example. The four major colors found in the Tabernacle were white, purple, and blue. Biblical Interpretation Talbot in his book, Christ in the Tabernacle. P. 38, says that “blue speaks to us of our Lord’s deity, for blue is the heavenly color.” Note his apparent line of reasoning. Blue is the color of the sky. Another term for the sky is the heavens. Jesus came from heaven. Blue must refer to His heavenly origin. Now this is not far off, but it’s not on target. It seems he simply relied on his intuition and was motivated by a desire to see New Testament truth symbolized in the Old Testament Biblical Interpretation Instead, he should have done some research into what the color blue symbolized to the people’s of the Ancient Near-East. How can we find out such things? A good resource is the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, ed. by Ryken, Wilhoit, and Longman. (Any good Bible dictionary or handbook should provide you with credible information). Here’s what they say about the color blue: Biblical Interpretation “ In ancient thought the sky was believed to separate the place of the gods from the human realm. Therefore blue, the color of the sky, could appropriately suggest the boundary between God and His people and symbolize his majesty. Like purple, blue was an expensive dye and thus connoted wealth and prestige. Blue was the dominant color of the vestments of ancient Israel’s high priest (Ex. 28). The high priest wore an outer garment of solid blue over the white robe of his priesthood.. He was the boundary between the human and divine realms, moving in both as he ministered in the Holy of Holies. p. 158 Biblical Interpretation The Tabernacle was the location of the presence of God. He lived among his people in a visible way. Thus the use of the most expensive dyes (blue and purple) signify His riches and power. The blue in the Tabernacle didn’t point to Jesus’ heavenly origin, but showed that the tent was the boundary between God and man. As you can see, we do not have to allegorize or use our imaginations to find what the color blue symbolizes. The meaning provided through historical research actually, in this case, provides a spiritual insight much deeper and profound than the one produced by imagination, and because it is rooted in fact and not in imagination, it is truthful. Biblical Interpretation We must always avoid the temptation to allegorize biblical texts. Don’t try to read Christ into every tent peg and color in the Old Testament or you will miss the actual meaning of the text. Now there are legitimate connections between Christ and the Old Testament. These generally come to us through typology and prophecy. (We will deal with prophecy later in the course). Biblical Interpretation TypologyNumerous passages in the Old Testament describe things that point to or foreshadow what Christ ultimately fulfills. For instance, the Old Testament sacrifices foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ. However, to view the Old Testament sacrificial system as foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is different than interpreting every element of the Old Testament sacrificial system allegorically. The sacrificial system involved doves, goats, cows, grains, ashes, smoke, fire, wine, and may other things. Biblical Interpretation TypologyAllegorical interpretation tries to make every element and details somehow connected to Christ (the tent pegs). The concept of foreshadowing is more general than specific and does not speculate about minute details. Moreover, most foreshadowing of Christ in the Old Testament is identified for us in the New Testament. Don’t look for novel or hidden connections. If you are the only one who sees it, it’s not there. Biblical Interpretation Typology A type can be defined as a Biblical event, institution, or person which serves as an example or pattern for other events, institutions, or persons. A type is fulfilled by its later antitype. For instance the Passover Lamb serves as a type of Christ Ex 12; 1 Corinthians 5:7). Melchizedek is also a type of Christ (Genesis 14; Psalm 110; Hebrews 5: 6, 10; 6: 20; 7: 1, 10, 11, 15, 17, 21) David served as a type of Christ in his sufferings in Psalm 22:1-18. David was writing about himself, but prophetically he was writing about Christ. Biblical Interpretation Typology We know that David is serving as a type in Psalm 22 because the New Testament confirms this (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:24, John 19:24-25). To see a difference between a type and a prophecy compare, Psalm 22 with Psalm 16, cf. Acts 2). An Old Testament passage cannot be confirmed as typological unless the New Testament confirms it as such. Biblical Interpretation Bible Codes Another way that people try to find levels of meanings in the Bible is through Bible codes. For the most part, this type of biblical interpretation has been made possible by the use of computers. However there is an ancient form of this called gematria. In his 1997 book, The Bible Code Michael Drosnin claimed there was a special letter sequence code hidden in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. He argued that this code, unlocked only with the help of computers, predicted dozens of modern events. Biblical Interpretation Bible CodesThe idea of the Bible containing hidden codes only available to experts and the technologically advanced smacks of Gnosticism. Don’t be gullible. Furthermore, it implies that only this generation is really able to unlock and understand the Word of God. The computerized approach to unlocking these so called Bible codes is called Equidistant Letter Sequencing (EDS). When EDS is applied to other books, it produces results similar to those seen when it is applied to the Bible. Biblical Interpretation Bible Codes In other words, if you apply this method to any book, eventually you may find something that seems prophetic. However, this method and its interpretation are both highly subjective, and the words have to be interpreted in a strained way to arrive at any kind of predictive thought. EDS and Gematria are not legitimate approaches to understanding the Bible or any other book. Biblical Interpretation Bible Codes In other words, if you apply this method to any book, eventually you may find something that seems prophetic. However, this method and its interpretation are both highly subjective, and the words have to be interpreted in a strained way to arrive at any kind of predictive thought. EDS and Gematria are not legitimate approaches to understanding the Bible or any other book. Biblical Interpretation The Role of the Holy Spirit in Biblical InterpretationWe have already observed that the Bible has both human authors and a Divine Author. The Bible is breathed out by God to men who recorded His Word without error as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, we need His help to understand it. This is called the Spirit’s work of illumination (John 16:12-14). Since the Spirit inspired the Scriptures, we should not expect Him to contradict the authorial intent of Scripture when He illuminates it. Biblical Interpretation Can we understand God’s Word apart from the Work of the Holy Spirit? This question requires a nuanced answer. 1.Yes- if an unbeliever uses valid interpretive methods, he can comprehend much of the Bible. However, without the Holy Spirit this person’s understanding of the Bible will be limited. a.Sin has an effect on the whole person including the human mind. b.An unbeliever’s understanding of the Bible is going to be limited by the effects of the unbelieving pre-understanding that he brings to the text. Biblical Interpretation Can we understand God’s Word apart from the Work of the Holy Spirit? c.Understanding the Scriptures involves more than taking in information, it involves belief and application. 2.No- Will people without the Spirit accept the truth of the Bible and apply it to their lives? (1 Corinthians 2:14) Biblical Interpretation What Help Should I Expect from the Holy Spirit As I Interpret the Scriptures? 1. Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that I do not have apply valid interpretive methods. The Bible is not only divinely inspired, but it is human. It follows the rules of human language and logic, and it was written to humans in specific historical/cultural settings. 2. The Spirit of God does not create meanings or provide new information. 3. The Spirit does not change the Bible to suit our purposes or to match our circumstances. Biblical Interpretation What Help Should I Expect from the Holy Spirit As I Interpret the Scriptures? 4. The Holy Spirit will bring the meaning of the Bible to bear on us when we study the Bible seeking to obey. 5. The Holy Spirit will use the Bible to sanctify us (Ephesians 1:17-19) Application Once we have come to understand the meaning of a text (interpretation) we move to application. Here are four steps involved in the process of applying the Scriptures: Biblical Interpretation 1. 2. 3. 4. What did the text mean to the original audience? What are the differences/similarities between the biblical audience and us? What is the theological principle in the text? How should believers today apply the theological principle in the text to their lives?