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The Bible: What it is & What it Isn’t

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Presentation on theme: "The Bible: What it is & What it Isn’t"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bible: What it is & What it Isn’t
Getting Serious about Taking Scripture in Context

2 Goal (this session and the previous)
Don’t Think about the Bible … Talk about the Bible … In ways that make the idea of inspiration indefensible or vulnerable to attack.

3 Misconceptions

4 What do we mean? Passage focus More academic Verses before and after
Grammatical-historical Exegesis Historical backdrop Specific occasion Internal consistency / Bible as a whole Biblical languages

5 What do we mean? Bigger issue than all that
We’re been trained (conscious or otherwise) to not see what interpreting Scripture in context really means and requires Must understand what interpreting the Bible in context does NOT mean …

6 Foreign Contexts The Church Fathers (of any era)
The proper context for accurately understanding the Bible is not: The Church Fathers (of any era) The Roman Catholic Church The Protestant Reformation Denominational Distinctives Evangelicalism Modern Critical Approaches Any modern context

7 Correct Context The one in which it was written.
The proper context for accurately understanding the Bible is : The one in which it was written. The Bible was written for us, but not to us

8 What does that mean?

9 Broadly … You need to think like the original biblical writers – and the original readers to whom the biblical books were written. You need their worldview in your head

10 Broadly … The Bible is filled with insider information, but we are outsiders when it comes to their world. We do not share their outlook and knowledge in every area …

11 Broadly … Social (cultural attitudes, customs, biases)
Science (natural world, medicine, biology, micro-biology, astronomy, navigation, geography, etc.) Communication (written, oral) Religious (unseen realm, afterlife, divine knowledge)

12 Specifics

13 Foreign Worldview of Bible
Bears Marks of ANE Culture Jacob and Laban – goats (Gen 30) Numbers 5 test for adultery Casting Lots Justice Avenger of blood, crime and punishment (e.g., Deut. 25:11) Status of women Polygamy, Levirate Marriage, Divorce, Property

14 Phenomena of the Text Use of Ancient Literary Structures
Covenant treaty structures Lawsuit genre Afterlife sighting genre Epistolary literature Parallelism, recapitulation, chiasm

15 Phenomena of the Text Content is Ancient / Primitive
Medicine / Science seat of emotions, intellect reproductive biology cosmology

16 Phenomena of the Text Theological Communication
Not always (or even mostly) propositional Story, narrative, concepts Chaos Leviathan Fire Stars Divine home / office / council

17 So … what to do?

18 Summation A coherent understanding of inspiration needs to account for what is actually found in the text. We need to set aside our assumptions focus on the biblical data LET THE BIBLE BE WHAT IT IS, not make it what it isn’t

19 What is the Bible? Ancient Mediterranean document …
Pre-scientific in worldview … Supernatural in worldview … Presumes the culture of its writers … God knew who he was using and what he was getting Providential guidance – a PROCESS, not an event We honor God’s decisions

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