What is the Bible?What Kind of Material is in the Bible?
What is the Bible? What Kind of Material is in the Bible?Why These Certain Books?
Why Trust The Bible?A. Predictive prophecy1. Isa. 9:1ff. (Galilee as focus ofJesus’ early ministry)2. Mic. 5:2 (cf. Matt. 2:4-6, the exactlocation of Jesus’ birth)B. Archaeology1. The same names (but not the biblicalpeople) of Gen.11-12 are found in other second millenniumB.C. texts from Mesopotamia (i.e. Mari and Nuzi texts).2.The Hittite civilization is mentioned in the OT (cf. II Kgs. 7:6,7; II Chr. 1:17, possibly Heth in Gen. 10:15), but wasunknown by documentary evidences until 1950s
Why Trust The Bible?3. Belshazzar (cf. Daniel 5) not listed in Babylonian Kingslists, but now known as the son of the last Neo-Babylonianking (Nabonidus) and co-regent in charge of the city ofBabylon whenbesieged by Cyrus’ army)4. Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, p. 31, “Noarchaeological discovery has ever been made thatcontradicts or controverts historical statements ofScripture.”
Why Trust The Bible?C. Consistency of the message1. Written over a 1600 yearperiod (dependingon the date of the Exodus).2. Written in three languages(Hebrew, Aramaic,Koine Greek).3. Written by men of vastly different socialstatus and cultural situations.4. Yet there is a unity ofmessage!D. Permanently changed lives of hearers
A. I believe the Bible is the inspired self-revelation of theone true God. Therefore, it must be interpreted in light ofthe intent of the original divine author (the Spirit) through ahuman writer in a specific historical setting.
B. I believe the Bible was written for the common person—for all people! God accommodated Himself to speak to usclearly within a historical and cultural context. God does nothide truth—He wants us to understand! Therefore, it mustbe interpreted in light of its day, not ours.The Bible should not mean to us what it never meant tothose who first read or heard it. It is understandable bythe average human mind and uses normal humancommunication forms andtechniques.
C. I believe the Bible has a unified message and purpose. It doesnot contradict itself, though it does contain difficult andparadoxical passages. Thus, the best interpreter of the Bible istheBible itself.
D. I believe that every passage (excluding prophesies) has one and only one meaning based on the intent of the original, inspired author. Although we can never be absolutely certain we know theoriginal author’s intent, many indicators point in its direction:1. the genre (literary type) chosen to express the message2. the historical setting and/or specific occasion that elicited the writing3. the literary context of the entire book as well as each literary unit4.the textual design (outline) of the literary units as they relate to the whole message5. the specific grammatical features employed to communicate the message6. the words chosen to present themessage7. parallel passages
Inappropriate MethodsA. Ignoring the literary context of the books of the Bible and usingevery sentence, clause, or even individual words as statements oftruth unrelated to the author’s intent or the larger context. This isoften called “proof-texting.”B. Ignoring the historical setting of the books by substituting asupposed historical setting that has little or no support from the textitself.C. Ignoring the historical setting of the books and reading it as themorning hometown newspaperwritten primarily to modern individualChristians.
Inappropriate MethodsD. Ignoring the historical setting of the books by allegorizing the textinto a philosophical/theological message totally unrelated to the firsthearers and the original author’s intent.E. Ignoring the original message by substituting one’s own systemof theology, pet doctrine, or contemporary issue unrelated to theoriginal author’s purpose and stated message. This phenomenonoften follows the initial reading of the Bible as a means ofestablishing a speaker’s authority. This is often referred to as“reader response” (“what-the-text-means-to-me”interpretation).
Original Author’s The Written Text The Original Intent as Produced Recipient
The Holy SpiritOriginal Author’s The Written Text The Original Intent as Produced Recipient Textual Later Variants Readers
“The Bible throws a lot of light on commentaries.”
genre3. our understanding of appropriatea. relevant parallel passagesb. relationship between doctrines (paradox)1. the original author’sa. historical settingb. literarycontext2. the original author’s choice ofa. grammaticalstructures (syntax)b. contemporary work usagec. genre3.our understanding of appropriatea. relevant parallelpassagesb. relationship between doctrines (paradox) 1. the original author’sa. historical settingb. literary context2. the original author’s choice ofa. grammatical structures (syntax)b. contemporary work usagec. genre3. our understanding of appropriatea. relevant parallel passagesb. relationship between doctrines (paradox)1. the original author’sa. historical settingb. literarycontext2. the original author’s choice ofa. grammaticalstructures (syntax)b. contemporary work usagec. genre3.our understanding of appropriatea. relevant parallel
Approaches to Good Bible Reading - ApplicationApplication must follow interpretation of the originalauthor’s intent both in time and logic. We cannot apply aBible passage to our own day until we know what it wassaying to its day! A Bible passage should not mean what itnever meant! What the author meant; What the person heard What that meant to them How does that affect us today... Not...what “that” says to me is...
Approaches to Good Bible Reading - THE SPIRITUAL!A. Pray for the Spirit’s help (cf. I Cor. 1:26-2:16).B. Pray for personal forgiveness & cleansing from known sin(cf. I John 1:9).C. Pray for a greater desire to know God (cf. Ps. 19:7-14;42:1ff.; 119:1ff).D. Apply any new insight immediately to your own life.E. Remain humble and teachable.
Suggested Resources...freebiblecommentary.orglogos.comHow to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth (Fee & Stewart)The Blue Parakeet (McKnight)The Drama of Scripture (Goheen & Bartholomew)