How To Read the Bible Contextualizing the Parables Samuel Lamerson
The Three Questions: 1. What is Contextualization? 2. Why do we need to Contextualize? 3. An example of a contextualized parable.
1. What is Contextualization? 1.A Contextualization is the pointing out the relationship of the gospel or Scripture to culture, or, as it has more recently been put, the relationship of text and context 1.B Thus, contextualization is an attempt to make the Scripture applicable and understandable to modern society
1. What is Contextualization? 1.C The Parables need to be contextualized, because the contexts in which the Scripture was written are radically different from those in which it is heard today. 1.D The parables are particularly important for two reasons: stories have great power particularly in today’s culture; reading the parables today lacks the “punch” they once had
2. A Method for Contextualizing 2.A Read and understand the parable in its “first horizon” 2.A.1 Note the setting within which the parable is placed. 2.A.2. Study the structure of the parable. 2.A.3. Uncover the background of the earthly details. 2.A.4. Determine the main points of the parable. 2.A.5. Relate the point(s) to Jesus’ kingdom teaching and to the basic message of the individual gospel. 2.A.6. Do not base doctrines upon the parables without checking corroborative details elsewhere.
2. A Method . . . Example An example of issues in a particular parable- Matthew 18:23-35 1 Humor in the Second-Temple period 2 Finances in the Second-Temple period 3 OT Allusions in the passage
2. A Method . . . It is highly probable that writers in second-temple Judaism alluded to a good many biblical texts, deliberately conjuring up a world of discourse with a word or phrase. It is also highly probable that readers in the twentieth century, alert for such allusions, will hear at least some where none are intended. It is absolutely certain that modern readers who are alert to this danger, and hence unwilling to allow any allusions beyond more or less direct quotations, will radically misread important texts (italics mine). N.T. Wright
2. A Method . . . 2.B The Second Horizon 2.B.1 How do we understand our culture? 2.B.2 What steps should one take to contextualize the parable? 2.B.2.a Realize the value of story 2.B.2.b Don’t place the story into propositional form. 2.B.2.3 Make the details of the story live
3. An Example of A Contextualized Parable Matt. 18:23-35 (again)