Presentation on theme: "The Bible: How to Read It? Keith Campbell, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
The Bible: How to Read It? Keith Campbell, Ph.D.
Review/Preview Review Oct. 26: Four Sources of Authority Preview Scripture Nov. 2: “The Bible…Where did it Come From” Nov. 16: “The Bible…Why Trust It?” Today: “The Bible…How to Read It?” Tradition Reason Experience For full schedule of Dinner Lectures and for PPT’s visit
Plan First things First How hard can it be? Two basic goals of Bible Reading Then and There Here and Now Discussion: What say you? Image: Slaves and Homosexuals as Test Cases
First Things First: Christian Primary Goal of Bible Reading Hear God’s voice Read God’s word as a love letter to us Love and obey God more deeply than before Learn our place in His-Story Including family, career, recreation…
Tonight: painting with broad strokes Further study needed See resources at PPT’s end Applying this discussion: hard work Bible needs become part of DNA “Bowling Lane” principle Applying this discussion: overwhelming Lifetime baby steps Holy Spirit aids in interpretation But rewards are eternal! First Things First: Image: 2013/10/pcb-design-manual- routing-with-broader-brush- strokes/
How Hard Can it Be?
What do you mean “How to Read It?” How Hard Can it Be? It’s easy, right? Just read it? Easy much of the time (much agreement). But, how do we interpret verses like: “Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material” (Leviticus 19:19). “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28). “Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss” (1 Thess 5:26). “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away…and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matt 5:29–30). "Take and eat; this is my body” (Matt 26:26). “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” (1 Timothy 2:12).
Two challenges: The nature of the reader (us) The nature of Scripture (the Bible) What do you mean “How to Read It?” How Hard Can it Be? Image:
Challenge: The Nature of the Reader (us) Bible world far removed from our world. Written: Over 1,500 years In a different culture 40+ different authors Various genres We bring “baggage” to the Bible (we all read through “glasses”). Examples: Experiences (divorce, abuse, wealth, etc.) Culture (the West, the East, etc.) Prior understandings of words and ideas (sin, heaven, etc.) Remember: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience This calls for deep (very very deep) humility
Challenge: The Nature of Scripture Both human and divine Historically particular and eternally relevant Historically particular: Written in many specific times, locations, and genres Eternally relevant: Written from God’s perspective for us today
Challenges Challenges: Yes! But not impossible! Remember: Holy Spirit helps Primary Bible story quite easy
Two Goals of Bible Interpretation Image:
Interpreting the Bible Two Basic Goals Meant then and there (authorial intent)? Gods Word to us was first God’s Word to them! Purpose: Read author’s intent out of the Bible Avoid reading our ideas into the Bible Means here and now? Application
Then and There General Interpretive Principles
Then and There: Introducing and Applying The Interpretive Triad to a Passage* Historical Background Literary Context Biblical/Theology Summary OT or NT? What is the Genre: Narrative, Poetry, Letter, Gospel, etc. Context Word Meanings How the passage fits within the overall biblical message (allowing tensions to exist and interpreting the OT in light of Jesus and the NT) First *Adapted from Köstenberger, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation (2012) Background Author Date Recipients Cultural (including: Sociological Political Philosophical Geographical) Second
Applying the Interpretive Triad: Tools for the Trade (See Final PPT Slide) Several Bible translations (NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT, TNIV, etc.) A Couple of Study Bibles (ESV Study Bible [outstanding!], NIV Study Bible, Archeological Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, Apologetics Study Bible, etc.) A Bible dictionary An Introduction to the OT and NT A Couple of Good commentaries Good Websites (see website, link at bottom of page)
You stumble upon these two passages Ephesians 6:5–9 (about slavery) Slaves: obedient to masters Masters treat slaves respectively Doesn’t endorse nor speak against slavery Doesn’t tell slaves to seek freedom Leviticus 18:22 (about homosexuality) Prohibits homosexual behavior “Sexual orientation”: a foreign concept to this writer Image: and-accept.html
Then and There Applying The Interpretive Triad Historical Background (concurrent with Literary ) Slavery (Ephesians 6:5–9) Author: Paul (about A.D.60) Recipients: Ephesian Church, addressing general theology and instruction about Christianity Cultural: Slaves mistreated in Roman Empire Homosexuals (Leviticus 18:22) Author: Probably Moses (about 1400–1200 BC) Recipients: Former Israel slaves en route to Promised Land Cultural: Homosexual behavior widely accepted beyond Israel. How do we know all this stuff? Use resources mentioned earlier! Image: homosexuality/
Then and There Applying The Interpretive Triad Literary Context (concurrent with Historical Background) Slavery (Ephesians 6:5–9) New Testament/Covenant (after Jesus) Genre: Letter Not poetry: Can’t read figuratively. Context: Last of three discussions about how Christians should relate to others within hierarchical relationships (Wives and Husbands, Children and Parents, Slaves and Masters) Word Meanings: “Slaves” (NIV, NASB, NLT, KJV); could mean “Bondservants” (ESV) Distinction is minimal Paul speaking of one person owning another person. Homosexuals (Leviticus 18:22) Old Testament/Covenant (before Jesus) Genre: OT law Context: In a long list of ethical, legal, and religious commands, including “don’t wear clothing mixed with two types of material” or “sow your field with two types of crops” (Lev 19:19) Word Meanings: Nothing debatable. Moses has in mind homosexual behavior.
Then and There Applying The Interpretive Triad Biblical/Theological Summary (after Historical and Literary) (If time would permit, we would apply the triad to all of the following) Slavery (partially representative b/c of space) Leviticus 25:44–46: Israel allowed to purchase slaves from enemies Exodus 21:2–6; 7–11: Rules on managing and freeing slaves Exodus 21: 20–21: Punishment for beating a slave 1 Corinthians 7:20–21: Slaves be content; but, get freedom if possible Galatians 3:28: Slaves and free are one in Christ Colossians 3:11: Slaves and masters are equal Ephesians 6:5–9 (our passage): Instructions to slaves and slave owners Colossians 4:1: Masters commanded to treat slaves rightly and fairly 1 Timothy 6:1–2: Slaves are to serve their believing masters diligently Philemon 1:15–16: Paul commands a Christian slave owner to receive his runaway slave “no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother [in Christ]” Homosexuals (every Bible passage represented) Leviticus 18:22; (our passage): Male homosexual behavior forbidden Leviticus 20:13 : Male homosexual behavior is forbidden Romans 1:26–27: Male and female homosexual behavior forbidden 1 Corinthians 6:9–11: Homosexual behavior forbidden
Then and There Applying The Interpretive Triad Biblical/Theological Summary (after Historical and Literary) Slavery OT: slavery assumed OT: laws protect slaves, but we think still brutal NT: instructions on how some slaves are to behave NT: masters to treat slaves as equal in Christ NT: Does not speak against the institution of slavery NT: slaves can pursue freedom Homosexual OT: homosexual behavior is sin. NT: homosexual behavior is sin.
Here and Now Goal: To Apply the Complete Biblical/Theological Summary to Our Lives Today Image:
Here and Now Scholarly Debate About the Best Interpretive Model/Method Everyone has a model/method, even if unaware of it! Three representative models/methods: Principlizing: Develops timeless principles that restate specific Bible passages Redemptive Historical: Looks for progress, development, or other patterns in the unfolding of biblical history Redemptive Movement: Similar to Redemptive, but with two differences: Considers the Bible’s cultural background in assessing biblical development. Example: The Bible always liberates women relative to its cultural background (this is a “redemptive movement”). When there is biblical development, the Bible may point beyond itself to an ultimate ethic not realized in the Bible itself.
Here and Now Homosexual Behavior Principlizing: Principle of every text is clear. Thus, homosexual behavior is sin. Redemptive Historical: No progress or development. Thus, homosexual behavior is sin. Redemptive Movement: No progress or development. The Bible is always more restrictive than its cultural background about Homosexual behavior. Thus, Homosexual behavior is sin. Image:
Here and Now Slavery Principlizing: Good principles for boss-employee relationships, for how to treat the weak and powerless, etc. Challenge: Seems divorced from original biblical meaning. What about very harsh treatment of slaves in OT? Redemptive Historical: Historical movement in Bible culminates in slaves equal to masters. Challenge: But, institution never abolished. Is slavery okay as long as we behave Christianly therein? Should we try to abolish slavery or just make it better? Redemptive Movement: Agrees with “Redemptive Historical” model, but suggests that the Bible’s trajectory points to an ultimate ethic of abolition. Challenges: Is the Bible itself insufficient? How do we know what the ultimate ethic is?
Here and Now What Say You? How do we apply what the Bible teaches on homosexual behavior in Shanghai? How do we apply what the Bible teaches on slavery in Sudan?
Here and Now: Evangelical Scholarly Agreement The Bible is accurate in all that it affirms. Our understanding of it may be fallible. I repeat: Have firm conviction laced with deep (very very deep) humility. Debates most often occur with “peripheral” (albeit important) issues: Women’s issues, specifics of end times, eternal security of the believer, predestination/freewill, Christian freedom (e.g. alcohol), etc. Many pervasive biblical teachings are less debated: Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus’ return, murder, adultery, lust, pride, hatred, idolatry, etc. For general theological consensuses in evangelicalism, visit our Church’s website: Shanghaifellowship.org (specifically: “Our Vision and Belief”) Must read the Bible systematically for a lifetime. Honest, open, ongoing, and humbly (did I mention humble?) critical conversations within the believing community is a must.
For Further Study Basic: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Intermediate: Gary T. Meadors, Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology. Advanced: Andreas Köstenberger, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation.