How to understand the meaning of a passage

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As part of Biblefresh, Wycliffe Bible Translators have been running a series of classes, helping people to understand more of the Bible. …

As part of Biblefresh, Wycliffe Bible Translators have been running a series of classes, helping people to understand more of the Bible.

This talk provides an introductory look at Biblical hermeneutics, and how we can understand what a Bible passage means. The talk is by Barrie Evans.

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  • 1. INTERPRETING THE BIBLE BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS wycliffe.org.uk
  • 2. “Nowhere is the debate of the contemporaryhermeneutical problem so lively as in the area of protestant theology”“The problem of reading the Holy Book – if youhave faith that it is the Word of God – is the most difficult problem in the whole field of reading.” wycliffe.org.uk
  • 3. “Hermeneutics concerns itself with…• not just the „what‟ of a segment of text but also the „why‟• „how‟ does this part relate to what it is part of wycliffe.org.uk
  • 4. I Samuel 23:6Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 5. I Samuel 23:1-61When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and arelooting the threshing floors,” 2he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go andattack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistinesand save Keilah.”3But Davids men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more,then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” 4Once again Davidinquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I amgoing to give the Philistines into your hand.”5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried offtheir livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved thepeople of Keilah. 6(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephoddown with him when he fled to David at Keilah.) wycliffe.org.uk
  • 6. I Samuel 23:1-61When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and arelooting the threshing floors,” 2he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go andattack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistinesand save Keilah.”3But Davids men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How muchmore, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” 4Once again Davidinquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I amgoing to give the Philistines into your hand.”5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried offtheir livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved thepeople of Keilah. 6(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephoddown with him when he fled to David at Keilah.) wycliffe.org.uk
  • 7. I Samuel 23:1-61When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and arelooting the threshing floors,” 2he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go andattack these Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistinesand save Keilah.”3But Davids men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How muchmore, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” 4Once again Davidinquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I amgoing to give the Philistines into your hand.”5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried offtheir livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved thepeople of Keilah. 6(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephoddown with him when he fled to David at Keilah.) wycliffe.org.uk
  • 8. I Samuel 23:6-136(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephod down with him whenhe fled to David at Keilah.)7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah… [8he] called up all his forces forbattle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.9When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar thepriest, “Bring the ephod.” 10David said, “O Lord, God of Israel, your servant hasheard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town onaccount of me. 11Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saulcome down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell yourservant.” And the Lord said, “He will.”12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men toSaul?” And the Lord said, “They will.” 13So David and his men, about sixhundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saulwas told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 9. I Samuel 23:6-136(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephod down with him whenhe fled to David at Keilah.)7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah… [8he] called up all his forces forbattle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.9When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar thepriest, “Bring the ephod.” 10David said, “O Lord, God of Israel, your servant hasheard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town onaccount of me. 11Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saulcome down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell yourservant.” And the Lord said, “He will.”12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men toSaul?” And the Lord said, “They will.” 13So David and his men, about sixhundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saulwas told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 10. I Samuel 23:6-136(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the ephod down with him whenhe fled to David at Keilah.)7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah… [8he] called up all his forces forbattle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.9When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar thepriest, “Bring the ephod.” 10David said, “O Lord, God of Israel, your servant hasheard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town onaccount of me. 11Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saulcome down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell yourservant.” And the Lord said, “He will.”12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men toSaul?” And the Lord said, “They will.” 13So David and his men, about sixhundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saulwas told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 11. “Hermeneutics concerns itself with…• not just the ‘what’ of a segment of text but also the ‘why’• ‘how’ does this part relate to what it is part of• we need to look at context• we cannot miss any part out• we can always look for a bigger context• we may not be able to exhaust the meaning wycliffe.org.uk
  • 12. David Dockery, Biblical Interpretation: Then and NowRobert Morgan with John Barton, Biblical InterpretationRichard Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic PeriodKevin Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth wycliffe.org.uk
  • 13. hermeneuoJohn 1:42, 9:7, Hebrews 7:2 I Corinthians 12:10, 14:26 exegeomai Luke 24:34, John 1:18Acts 10:8, 15:12,14, 21:19 wycliffe.org.uk
  • 14. ephods and praying wycliffe.org.uk
  • 15. • Parables• Genesis 1 & 2• the end of Revelation• Isaiah wycliffe.org.uk
  • 16. JamesIn the three- or four-month interval between thedecease of the procurator of Judea, Porcius Festusin A.D. 62 and the arrival of his successor… the highpriest Ananus… took the opportunity to rid theprovince of a number of popular leaders who weresuspected of not supporting the patriotic front. One ofthose leaders was James the brother of Jesus, whowas arraigned and put to death… wycliffe.org.uk
  • 17. JamesThe priests were in contention with the aristocratic high-priesthood…The high-priestly families who owed their tenure in officeto Herod were not Palestinian Jews but powerfulfamilies imported from the Diaspora who looked toRome to maintain them in office and were ill-famed fortheir exploitation of the poor generally and the lowerpriests in particular.The priests and Levites… were open to the cause of thepoor, with whom they often identified since theythemselves were sometimes employed as daylabourers. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 18. JamesIt is not possible to draw any closer lines between thehistorical James and the political-religious movementsthat swirled around him… But certain assumptions andeducated guesses may be offered…The most we may want to affirm is that both earlyChristian history and later ecclesiasticaldevelopments… make James a person of commandingstature and leadership. It is not difficult to conceive ofhim as playing a significant role in opposing injusticeand defending the poor. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 19. • Origen - parables• Antioch and Alexandria• Control of allegory, control of heresy – „rule‟ of faith wycliffe.org.uk
  • 20. Fourfold Method• literal• allegorical• tropological or moral• anagogical wycliffe.org.uk
  • 21. Fourfold Method - Jerusalem• A Jewish city• The Church of Christ• The souls of men and women• The heavenly city wycliffe.org.uk
  • 22. • Problems with authoritarianism• Early scientific method, lay movement – Erasmus• Back to the text• What is its meaning?• Author - reader - text wycliffe.org.uk
  • 23. THE „BIG BACKGROUND/PICTURE‟ THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT OUR CONTEXT/ MEANING FOR US wycliffe.org.uk
  • 24. THE „BIG BACKGROUND/PICTURE‟ THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT OUR CONTEXT/ MEANING FOR US wycliffe.org.uk
  • 25. THE „BIG BACKGROUND/PICTURE‟ THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT OUR CONTEXT/ MEANING FOR US wycliffe.org.uk
  • 26. THE „BIG BACKGROUND/PICTURE‟ THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT CONTRAST NARRATIV E GENR E PROBABLY NO „SPECIAL OUR CONTEXT/ EFFECT WORDS‟ MEANING FOR US wycliffe.org.uk
  • 27. Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise…All praise we would render; O help us to see, „tis only the splendour of light hideth thee; And so let they glory, Almighty, impart,Through Christ in the story, thy Christ in the heart. wycliffe.org.uk
  • 28. wycliffe.org.uk