Presentation on theme: "The Bible as a Human Book and a Divine Book"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Bible as a Human Book and a Divine Book HermeneuticsThe Bible as a Human Bookand a Divine Book
2 Some DefinitionsAxiom – a self-evident truth or proposition; an accepted principle.Corollary – a logical inference that flows from an axiom.We want to look at 2 axioms, and several corollaries that follow from each one of them:The Bible is a human book.The Bible is a divine book.
3 The Nature of Hermeneutical Principles We can consider the corollaries that we draw from these two axioms as hermeneutical, or interpretive, principles.They are not arbitrary, and they are not imposed upon the Bible to make it say what we want it to say.Instead they are a part of the very nature of man and the way that he communicates. It is inherent within man to communicate in such a way as to be understood by others.
4 The Nature of Hermeneutical Principles “In other words the principles for interpreting the Bible are simply descriptions of the way people think and read when they seek to understand the meaning of any writing. They are not inventions, they are discoveries. Rather than being created, they are observed” (Zuck, p. 60).
5 Axiom One: The Bible is a Human Book Though the Bible is uniquely the Word of God and a supernatural work of God, it was written by men to be understood by men.The Bible is written in human languages in order to convey truths from God, the ultimate author, to human beings.From this axiom flow several corollaries that are identified by Zuck.
6 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” Each biblical writing – that is, each word, sentence, and book – was recorded in a written language and followed normal, grammatical meanings, including figurative language.It did not have to be decoded or deciphered, but was intelligible to the original audience.It also included idioms, unusual expressions, and figures of speech, as any language does.We should therefore let the Bible speak for itself, seeking to understand what it says on its own terms, rather than reading into it what we want it to say.
7 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” “Whenever we read a book, an essay, or a poem we presume the literal sense in the document until the nature of the literature may force us to another level. This is the only conceivable method of beginning or commencing to understand literature of all kinds” (Bernard Ramm, as cited in Zuck, p. 63).
8 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” Each biblical writing was written by someone to specific hearers or readers in a specific historical, geographical situation for a specific purpose.The goal of exegesis is to discover that original meaning. This is a necessary step before we understand how the same passage applies to us.Question: is every command in the Bible binding on every believer?
9 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” The Bible is affected and influenced by the cultural environment from which each human writer wrote.Requires the study of manners and customsExample of foot washing in John 13
10 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” Each biblical writing was accepted or understood in the light of its context.Again, this is another aspect of normal interpretation.Beware of the danger of memorizing verses without understanding their context!Context includes both the historical situation and the textual context.
11 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” Each biblical writing took on the nature of a specific literary form.Though our usual way of understanding a piece of writing is its ordinary sense, we also recognize differences in different kinds of literature (historical novel, physics textbook, newspaper account).The Bible many different types of literature: narratives, poetry, prophecy, letters, proverbs, parables, discourses.
12 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Human Book” Each biblical writing was understood by its initial readers in accord with the basic principles of logic and communication.We assume self-consistency by the author.Example: 1 John 1:8 and 3:9
13 Axiom Two: The Bible is a Divine Book Though the Bible on one level is a human book, written by men in order to be understood by men, it is also a divine book. It is “God-breathed.”All Scripture is inspired by God (qeo,pneustoj) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet 1:20-21).“When we speak of inspiration of the Bible, we do not mean that the writers were inspired but that the words themselves inspired, that is, they were God-breathed. In some sense God infused His life into the words of the Bible so that they are actually His. This can be said of no other book in the world!” (Zuck, p. 69).
14 Axiom Two: The Bible is a Divine Book Affirmed in the OT by the oft repeated phrase, “Thus says the Lord.”Affirmed in the NT, for example, by Matthew’s “to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet” (Matt. 1:22).Concerning the NT writings, Peter acknowledged the divine nature of Paul’s letters:and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15, 16).If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment (1 Cor 14:37).
15 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Divine Book” The Bible, being a divine book, is inerrant. The God of the Bible is a God of truth. The Holy Spirit’s work of superintending the men who wrote Scripture guarantees that the Bible is without error.A good resource for further study: Inerrancy, edited by Norman L. Geisler.The Bible, being a divine book, is authoritative. Since the Bible comes from God Himself, it has intrinsic authority.
16 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Divine Book” The Bible, being a divine book, has unity. Though it was recorded by 40 different human writers over a 1500 year period, its parts fit together; it unfolds a continuous story from Genesis to Revelation. The four Gospels do not contradict, but instead complement one another.Note: Rather than saying obscure passages should be interpreted in light of clearer ones, it is better to interpret obscure passages in light of their own immediate context.
17 Corollaries Flowing from “the Bible is a Divine Book” The Bible, being a divine book, has mystery. Because God is infinite and we are not, there are concepts in the Bible that go beyond human reason. Zuck lists 3 areas which contain mystery:ProphecyMiraclesDoctrine
18 ConclusionSeeing the Bible as both human and divine, we seek to interpret it in the same way as we do other types of written works while at the same time acknowledging its uniqueness and mystery as divine truth from God.