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Understanding Scripture Excerpted from Fee & Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth Steve Badger.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Scripture Excerpted from Fee & Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth Steve Badger."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Scripture Excerpted from Fee & Stuart’s How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth Steve Badger

2 Fee & Stuart distinguish between these two terms: Exegesis and Hermeneutics Terminology

3 Exegesis: careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover what the text meant to the original recipients Hermeneutics: the task of hearing the same meaning as the original readers heard; seeking the contemporary relevance of ancient texts (The latter includes the former) Two Definitions

4 1. Name of the writer 2. Name of the recipient 3. Greeting 4. Prayer wish or thanksgiving 5. Body of the letter 6. Final greeting and farewell Greco-Roman Epistolary Form How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.46-47

5 General Characteristics of The New Testament Letters 1. Not homogeneous group 2. Form of letters of that day 3. Occasional documents 4. Not theological treatises, though they contain theology

6 First things first… What is the very first thing a reader must recognize/identify in order to correctly understand any written text? Assuming the reader knows the language, is able to read, etc.

7 How to Understand a Text 1. First, recognize and understand the genre 2. Reconstruct the situation (consult a Bible dictionary or commentary introduction) 3. Read the whole letter from multiple translations in one sitting 4. Identify individual pericopes continued next slide…

8 How to Understand a Text 5. Trace the development of the arguments within the pericope 6. Note the part of the letter the text is in 7. The interpretation should be self-contained and coherent Adapted from How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.46-58

9 What makes a passage of Scripture a “Problem Passage”? How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.59

10 Understanding Problem Passages 1. The meaning is obscure because the text was not written to us. We have to be content with our ignorance. 2. In spite of this, at times the point of the passage is still within our grasp. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.59

11 Understanding Problem Passages 3. We must learn to distinguish between our knowledge and speculation. 4. A good commentary will list and discuss the suggested meanings and strengths and weaknesses of each. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.59

12 The Big Issue Christians committed to the Bible as God's Word struggle with one Big Issue: that of cultural relativity: What in the Word is culturally bound and meant only for them/then/there? And... What transcends culture and time and is universally true and applicable (for us/now/here)? How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.61-62

13 The Big Issue Consider 1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 (NIV) “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

14 The Big Issue Perhaps 1 Cor 11:5 sheds some light “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head.” Does Paul contradict himself here?

15 The Big Issue Perhaps another illustration… “Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.”

16 The Basic Rule A text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his readers.

17 The Second Rule Whenever we share comparable particulars (i.e., similar specific life situations) with the first-century setting, God's Word to us is the same as His Word to them. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p.65

18 A Corollary Otherwise, we search for an analogous situation.

19 Some Problems 1. The problem of extended application (p.66-67). 2. The problem of particulars that are not comparable (p.67-70). 3. The problem of cultural relativity (p.70-76). 4. The problem of task theology (p.76-77). How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

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