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Having just finished our Saturday Weekly Series on Hermeutics and the Covenants, I thought it was good to put all in one location the outlines of all three hermeneutics courses we have on our blog.  Lord willing, sometime in the future I want to make a fourth level hermeneutics course on Logic for Biblical Hermeneutics.

I think it’s important for Christians in terms of spiritual life, practical theology, systematic theology and apologetics to be conscious of our hermeneutics.  To that end, I hope this would be helpful.

LEVEL ONE: INTRODUCTION TO HERMENEUTICS

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session One: Introduction

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Two: How Should We Study Theology? Issues of Sources and Authority

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Three: Doctrine of Special Revelation

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Four: The Doctrine of the Self-Attesting Word of God

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Five: Doctrine of Inerrancy and Ramifications for Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Six: Doctrine of Biblical Clarity

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Seven: The importance of Words and Grammars

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eight: Context Part I: The Immediate Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Nine: Context Part II: The Chapter and Book Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Ten: Context Part III: The Entirety of Scripture

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eleven: The Aid of Natural Revelation in Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Twelve: Hermeneutics and Apologetics

LEVEL TWO: BIBLICAL GENRES (LITERARY FORMS)

SESSION ONE: DEFINITION OF GENRE AND DO THEY EXIST?

SESSION TWO: THE IMPORTANCE OF GENRE IN INTERPRETATION

SESSION THREE: PROSE I: OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVE

SESSION FOUR: PROSE II: OLD TESTAMENT HISTORICAL NARRATIVE

SESSION FIVE: PROSE III: LAW

SESSION SIX: POETRY I: WHAT IS HEBREW POETRY?

SESSION SEVEN: POETRY II: LAMENT

SESSION EIGHT: POETRY III: PRAISE

SESSION NINE: POETRY IV: PROVERBS

SESSION TEN: POETRY V: OTHER HEBREW WISDOM

SESSION ELEVEN: PROPHECY I: ANNOUNCEMENT OF JUDGEMENT

SESSION TWELVE: PROPHECY II: ORACLE OF SALVATION

SESSION THIRTEEN: PROPHECY III: APOCALYPTIC

SESSION FOURTEEN: NEW TESTAMENT HISTORICAL NARRATIVE/ GOSPELS

SESSION FIFTEEN: EPISTLES

APPENDIX SESSION ONE: PARABLES

APPENDIX SESSION TWO: INTER-RELATIONSHIP OF GENRE IN INTERPRETATION

a-covenant-with-god

LEVEL THREE: BIBLICAL COVENANTS

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GO TO PART 3

a-covenant-with-god

I. Introduction

a. This covenant is important in Old Testament Hermeneutics.

i.      The Mosaic Covenant is important in understanding what God is doing in different period of the Old Testament, according to the people’s obedience or disobedience of the Covenant’s requirement.

ii.      In a sense, the Mosaic Covenant provides the normative in interpreting the situations in Old Testament history.

Note: The historical narrative and prophetic Genre in Scripture operate as the verification of whether or not one’s hermeneutic has properly interpret the Mosaic Covenant by seeing whether the situational genre cohere with the normative genre.

b, The Content of the Covenant

i.      Mosaic Law

ii.      Blessings and Curses

c. This study will focus on two passages that provides the content of the Covenant in terms of blessings and curses: Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 27-28.

II. Elements

a. Setting

i.      Leviticus 26

1. This is revealed after the Hebrews have been delivered miraculously by God from Egypt.

2. Leviticus 25:44= “For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

 ii.      Deuteronomy 27-28

1. The second presentation of the Law to be remembered before entering the promise land.

2. Deuteronomy 27:1-2= “Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, “Keep all the commandments which I command you today.  So it shall be on the day when you cross the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God gives you, that you shall set up for yourself large stones and coat them with lime.”

b. Recipients

i.      Nation of Israel (Leviticus 26:46 and Deuteronomy 27:1)

c. Promise

i.      Blessings (if they keep the commandments)

1. Rain in their seasons (Leviticus 26:3-4; Deuteronomy 28:12)

2. Land yield fruit (Leviticus 26:3-4; Deuteronomy 28:4, 8)

3. Plentiful food (Leviticus 26:5, 10; Deuteronomy 28:5)

4. Peace in the land (Leviticus 26:6)

5. Eliminate harmful beast from the land (Leviticus 26:6)

6. Defeating of enemies (Leviticus 26:7-8; Deuteronomy 28:7)

7. Fruitful and multiply (Leviticus 26:9; Deuteronomy 28:11)

8. God’s presence (Leviticus 26:11-12)

9. Land gets its rest during the captivity in enemy nation (Leviticus 26:34)

10. God’s covenantal faithfulness is not abandoned even in captivity (Leviticus 26:44-45)

11. Set above all the nations 9Deuteronomy 28:1-3, 10, 13)

12. Increase of one’s animals (Deuteronomy 28:4, 11)

13. Lending to other nations, but never borrowing (Deuteronomy 28:12

ii.  Curses (if they disobey the commandments)

1. Fever and sickness (Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:22, 59-62)

2. Land will not produce crop (Leviticus 26:16, 20; Deuteronomy 28: 38-40, 42)

3. Enemies presence and victory (Leviticus 26:16-17, 25, 32; Deuteronomy 28:25-26, 30-33, 48-52)

4. Seven-fold increase of the Lord’s punishment, if not repentant (Leviticus 26:18, 23-24, 28)

5. Humbled (Leviticus 26:19)

6. Plagues (Leviticus 26:21; Deuteronomy 28:59, 61)

7. Beast overtake the land (Leviticus 26:22)

8. Pestilence (Leviticus 26:25; Deuteronomy 28:21)

9. Food not satisfactory (Leviticus 26:26; Deuteronomy 28:17)

10. Cannibalism (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53-57)

11. Destruction of idols and altars (Leviticus 26:30, 31)

12.Cities destroyed (Leviticus 26:31, 33; Deuteronomy 28:16)

13. Scattered among the nations (Leviticus 26:33; Deuteronomy 28:36, 41, 48, 63-68)

14. Terror in captivity (Leviticus 26:36-39)

15. Decrease of one’s animals (Deuteronomy 28:18)

16. Confusion sets in (Deuteronomy 28:20)

17. Fiery heat (Deuteronomy 28:22)

18. Mildew (Deuteronomy 28:22)

19. End of rain (Deuteronomy 28:24)

20. Boils, tumors and scabs (Deuteronomy 28:27, 35)

21. Smite with madness (Deuteronomy 28:28, 34)

22. Blinded (Deuteronomy 28:28-29)

23. Robbed (Deuteronomy 28:29)

24. Dishonored among the nations (Deuteronomy 28:37, 43-44)

25. Forced to borrow from Gentiles (Deuteronomy 28:44)

d. Requirement (Commandments and prohibition)

i.      No idols (Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 27:15)

ii.      Sabbath keeping (Leviticus 26:2)

iii.      Write the law on a lime stone at Mount Ebal (Deuteronomy 27:2-4, 8)

iv.      Build an altar for sacrifice to Yahweh in promise land (Deuteronomy 27:5-7)

v.      Prohibited from dishonoring parents (Deuteronomy 27:16)

vi.      Prohibited from moving neighbor’s boundary marker (Deuteronomy 27:17)

vii.      Prohibited from misguiding blind (Deuteronomy 27:18)

viii.      Prohibited from distorting social justice (Deuteronomy 27:19)

ix.      Prohibited from various sexual immorality (Deuteronomy 27:20-23)

x.      Prohibited from striking neighbor secretly (Deuteronomy 27:24)

xi.      Prohibited from accepting bribe to strike an innocent (Deuteronomy 27:25)

e. Signs

Curses themselves: “They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever.  Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things…” (Deuteronomy 28:46-47)

GO TO PART 5

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We have just finish posting the outlines for an introductory and genre hermeneutics series I use when I teach on this topic.  For the sake of convenience, I’ve posted the links to both series here.

I think it’s important for Christians in terms of spiritual life, practical theology, systematic theology and apologetics to be conscious of our hermeneutics.  To that end, I hope this would be helpful.

LEVEL ONE: INTRODUCTION TO HERMENEUTICS

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session One: Introduction

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Two: How Should We Study Theology? Issues of Sources and Authority

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Three: Doctrine of Special Revelation

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Four: The Doctrine of the Self-Attesting Word of God

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Five: Doctrine of Inerrancy and Ramifications for Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Six: Doctrine of Biblical Clarity

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Seven: The importance of Words and Grammars

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eight: Context Part I: The Immediate Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Nine: Context Part II: The Chapter and Book Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Ten: Context Part III: The Entirety of Scripture

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eleven: The Aid of Natural Revelation in Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Twelve: Hermeneutics and Apologetics

LEVEL TWO: BIBLICAL GENRES (LITERARY FORMS)

SESSION ONE: DEFINITION OF GENRE AND DO THEY EXIST?

SESSION TWO: THE IMPORTANCE OF GENRE IN INTERPRETATION

SESSION THREE: PROSE I: OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVE

SESSION FOUR: PROSE II: OLD TESTAMENT HISTORICAL NARRATIVE

SESSION FIVE: PROSE III: LAW

SESSION SIX: POETRY I: WHAT IS HEBREW POETRY?

SESSION SEVEN: POETRY II: LAMENT

SESSION EIGHT: POETRY III: PRAISE

SESSION NINE: POETRY IV: PROVERBS

SESSION TEN: POETRY V: OTHER HEBREW WISDOM

SESSION ELEVEN: PROPHECY I: ANNOUNCEMENT OF JUDGEMENT

SESSION TWELVE: PROPHECY II: ORACLE OF SALVATION

SESSION THIRTEEN: PROPHECY III: APOCALYPTIC

SESSION FOURTEEN: NEW TESTAMENT HISTORICAL NARRATIVE/ GOSPELS

SESSION FIFTEEN: EPISTLES

APPENDIX SESSION ONE: PARABLES

APPENDIX SESSION TWO: INTER-RELATIONSHIP OF GENRE IN INTERPRETATION

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GO TO APPENDIX ONE

I. Introduction

a. You have probably heard the saying “Let Scripture interpret Scripture”.

b. Throughout this series on hermeneutics and Genre course, one can see the inter-relationship of Genre.  This inter-relationship of genres is important in interpretation.

c. One more fully appreciate the principle of “Let Scripture interpret Scripture” in seeing how one particular genre of Scripture can shed interpretative light of another genre of Scripture.

d. This appendix summarizes how each genre can be further illuminated by another genre of Scripture. (NOTE: This outline is not exhaustive)

e. This outline might be helpful as a guide to the hermeneutics of proper cross-referencing.

II. Interpretative insights of a Biblical passage in light of similar genre

a. Find if there are other places that are similar in Genre and see if there is new information provided to get a more fuller pictures.

Example: Looking at the four Gospels to get a picture of one incident.

b. Pay attention to progressive revelation: Are their more information provided in later revelation of the same Genre?

Example: Book of Revelation gives more details of prophecies than Isaiah, Daniel, etc.

III. Interpretative insights of a Biblical passage in light of other genre

a. Old Testament Narrative

i.      Proverbs: Are there any particular wise proverb that address the particular slice of reality of this text?

ii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospels: Has Jesus and the early church authoritatively preach on this text, revealing insights within the text or further details?

iii.      Epistles:

1. Similar to New Testament Narrative, does the Epistles offer any insights into the text or further details?

2. The Epistles are especially helpful in giving theological interpretation of Old Testament Narratives.

b. Old Testament Historical Narrative

i.      What applies for Narrative above (insights from Proverbs, New Testament Narrative/Gospels and Epistles) applies here as well.

ii.      Narrative: Are their any Covenants and promises described previously in Old Testament narratives that illuminate what is going on in this particular text?

iii.      Laws: This provides the biblical standard of norms to make a moral judgment of the event in the Historical Narrative.

iv.      Lament and Praise Poetry: Does the Psalms provide further insight of the difficulties or celebration of the events in the Historical narrative?

v.      Announcement of judgment and oracle of salvation: Are there any prophetic books that occur simultaneously with the events going on?

c. Old Testament Laws

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

1. Provides the historical and situational circumstances that the Laws are prescribed to.

2. Also, are their any Covenants and promises described previously in Old Testament narratives that illuminate what is going on in this particular text?

3. Are their examples of laws illustrated?

ii.      Praise and announcement of judgment: Are their any given perspectives of the Law of God provided in these genres?

iii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospels and Epistles: Does these genres reveal any Old Testament Laws are no longer applicable for today?

d. Lament and Praise

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

1. Provides the historical and situational circumstances that the Lament or Praises Psalms are prescribed to.

2. Also, are there any Covenants and promises described previously in Old Testament narratives that illuminate what is going on in this particular text?

ii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospel and Epistles: Did the New Testament further expounded on these texts?

e. Proverbs

i.      Laws: Since Proverbs is by nature “slice of reality”, it is also important that any imperative is seen within the boundary of the Law.

ii.      Epistles: Again, since Proverbs is by nature “slice of reality”, it is also important that any imperative within Proverbs be viewed within the boundary of the commands and prohibition of the New Testament.

iii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospel and Epistles: Did the New Testament further expounded on these texts?

f. Other Hebrew Wisdom

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative: Provides the historical background.

ii.      Law, Proverbs and the Epistles: Especially in the “Counter-Wisdom” literatures, it is important to interpret things in light of the theological and moral boundaries of Scripture.

g. Announcement of Judgment

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

1. Can provide the historical background of when the text was written.

2. Also, are there any Covenants and promises of curses described previously in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives that illuminate what is going on in this particular text?

ii.      Law: What are God’s command and prohibition that God is not pleased with, that result in this announcement of judgment?

iii.      Oracle of Salvation and Apocalyptic: In light of the doom and gloom of Announcement of Judgment, is there any hope to be found in the Oracle of Salvation o r the Apocalyptic Genre?

h. Oracle of Salvation

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

1. Can provide the historical background of when the text was written.

2. Also, are there any Covenants and promises of blessings described previously in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives that illuminate what is going on in this particular text?

ii.      Announcement of Judgment: Oracle of Salvation is seen as good news in light of the announcement of judgment.

iii.      Apocalyptic: Are there further expansion and details of hope to be found in Apocalyptic genre that can illuminate the oracle of Salvation?

i. Apocalyptic

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

1. Can provide the historical background of when the text was written.

2. Also, are there any Covenants and promises of blessings and curses described previously in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives that are being described as being fulfilled in this particular text?

ii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospel and Epistles: Did the New Testament further expounded on these texts?

j. New Testament Narrative/Gospel

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative:

Are there any Covenants and promises of blessings and curses described previously in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives that are being described as being fulfilled in this particular text?

ii.      Law: Are there certain behavior and manners that needs to be understood in light of the Old Testament Law?

iii.      Lament, Praises, Announcement of Judgment, Apocalyptic: Are there any prophecies that are being fulfilled here

iv.      Epistles: Are there further theological explanations of historical realities to be found in the epistles?

k. Epistles

i.      Narrative & Historical Narrative and New Testament Narrative/Gospel:

1. Are their any illustrations found in the Epistles that comes from these narratives and require previous background familiarity of these narratives?

2. Are there any Covenants and promises of blessings and curses described previously in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives that are being described as being fulfilled in this particular text?

ii.      Lament, Praises, Announcement of Judgment, Apocalyptic: Are there any prophecies that are being fulfilled here?

l. Parables

i.      Law: Are there certain behavior and manners that needs to be understood in light of the Old Testament Law?

ii.      New Testament Narrative/Gospel: Does the rest of the Gospels happen to provide information important to understanding the parable’s details?

iii.      Epistles: In regards to one’s interpretation of the Parables, is it within the boundary of theological and moral orthodoxy as expounded in the Epistles?

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GO TO PART XV

I. Identifying Parables

a. Definitions

i.      Popularly defined as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.[1]

ii.      Stein holds that it is“A figure of speech in which there is a brief or extended comparison.”[2]

iii.      Comes from a Greek term “parabole” which “means literally to ‘throw alongside,’ and that’s what parables do.  They make comparisons.  They align one thing next to another to clarify the second.”[3]

iv.      “Realistic stories, simple in construction and didactic—in purpose, that convey religious truth and in which the details often have a significance beyond their literal narrative meaning.”[4]

b. Three Classification

Since Parables are hard to define, as if it was on a sliding scale of forms.  It is helpful to think of it in terms of three classifications.  Here it is presented from more complex to simpler forms:

i.      Parable proper[5]

1. Also called “True parable.”[6]

2. It is story-like[7], with narrative elements of plot, character and setting.[8]

ii.      Similitude

These “are more like illustrations taken from everyday life that Jesus used to make a point.”[9]

iii.      Parabolic Sayings[10]

These are in reality metaphors and similes.[11]

II. Principles in interpreting New Testament Parables

a. Since Parable Proper is a type of narrative in its form[12], principles of interpreting narratives would apply to these parables.

b. Pay attention for “lead-in”

i.      What was stated or happening in the moment before the parable was given?

ii.      “The lead-in establishes a set of expectations in the listener/reader so that we expect the parable to illustrate a concept.”[13]

iii.      It is something like stepping on a land mine, which sets off the parable being delivered.

iv.      Example: Luke 15:2.

c. Look for obvious language of comparison

i.      Words such as “like” or “as” are indicators of comparison which is important in interpreting meanings.

ii.      Example: Matthew 13:33.

d. Pay attention to any summary of the parable given[14]

i.      Does the text itself tells us what it means?

ii.      What does the narrator who wrote the Gospels has to say?[15]

iii.      What did Jesus have to say about the parable itself?

e. Consider how the passage fits into the whole of the narrative

i.      What section of the epistles is the passage coming from?

ii.      “Sometimes the placement of the parables in the Gospel suggests meaning.”[16]

f. Find out about the historical background of the materials mentioned in the Parable.

i.      In considering the nature of parables as, the background ought to be taken seriously.

ii.      Be aware that “the various terms used in the parable evoke attitudes and responses in the reader today which are quite different from and even antithetical to those evoked in the hearers in Jesus’ day.”[17]

iii.      Example: The Samaritan mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan is shocking to the original Jewish hearers, and it is our job to enter into the Biblical world and understand what was going on.

iv.      Background material to the Epistle can be found within the Scriptures itself:

1. Does the Old Testament inform us of certain practices and values that can illuminate the parable?

2. Are their practices and values that is mentioned in the Gospels which put the parables object lessons in perspective?

v.      Background materials can be found outside of the Scriptures as well: 1st Century primary sources, Bible hand books, sources on archaeology, texts on history, commentaries, etc.


[1] Rober H. Stein, An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus, (Philadelphia: The Westminister Press), 15.

[2] Ibid, 22.

[3] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 103.

[4] Leland Ryken, How to Read the Bible as Literature, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 202.

[5] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 103.

[6] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 137.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 104.

[9] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 138.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 109.

[13] Ibid, 116.

[14] Ibid, 117.

[15] Rober H. Stein, An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus, (Philadelphia: The Westminister Press), 78.

[16] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 117.

[17] Rober H. Stein, An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus, (Philadelphia: The Westminister Press), 75.

 

GO TO APPENDIX 2

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GO TO PART XIV

I. Identifying Epistle

a. Definitions

i.      Letters that are found in the New Testament.

ii.      Written first century letters that was occasional documents (“arising out of and intended for a specific occasion”).[1]

iii.      “An epistle is a letter designed for wide circulation that addresses current issues and revives personal relationship.”[2]

b. Elements

i.      Six elements[3]

1. Name of the writer

2. Name of the recipient

3. Greetings

4. Prayer wish or thanksgiving

5. Body

6. Final Greeting and Farewell

ii.      Two main parts

1. Indicatives

a. The factual statement of Christian truth that a Christian ought to know.

b. Typically the bulk of indicatives are found in the beginning section of the epistle.

2. Imperatives

a. The command, exhortation and prohibition that a Christian ought to practice.

b. Typically the bulk of the imperatives are found in the ending section of the epistle.

II. Principles in interpreting Epistles

a. Remember: “A text cannot mean what it never could have meant to his or her readers.”[4]

i.      Fee goes on to write that “This rule does not always help one find out what a text means, but it does help to set limits as to what it cannot mean.”[5]

ii.      Hence this principle is the objective controlling principle regulating the following principles and other hermeneutical principles in interpreting the epistles.

b. Identify the elements of an epistle

i.      Identifying the elements are helpful keys to interpreting its function in the text.

ii.      Asking these questions might help:

1. Who is the author and what do we know about him?  Where the author located at during the writing, and what was was he going through?

2. Who are the recipients, what was their relationship to the author and where were the recipients located?

3. What was included and what was excluded in the greetings that were not typically found in other New Testament epistles?

4. What was the content of the epistle’s prayer wish or thanksgiving, and the reason for them?

5. What was the main body addressing about?

c. Consider how the passage fits into the whole of the epistle

i.      What section of the epistles is the passage coming from?

ii.      How does the passage contribute to the part, section and whole?

d. Find out the historical context of the epistle.[6]

i.      In considering the nature of epistles as a document addressing an occasion (see the above definition of the epistle), the background ought to be taken seriously.

ii.      Background material to the Epistle can be found within the Scriptures: Book of Acts.

In a fascinating interdependence of the Biblical genre, the book of Acts as a New Testament narrative help illuminates the background information for the epistles!

iii.      Background material to the Epistle can be found outside of the Scriptures: 1st Century documents, archaeology, history, etc.[7]

e. The imperatives are to be grounded in the indicatives

The epistle’s “theological worldview provides the rationale for  behavior by grounding the imperative in the indicative.  That is, the epistles command, rebuke, and exhort, but they do so on the basis of the character and work of God.[8]

f. The implication of the epistles’ indicatives are found in the imperatives

The indicatives in the epistles are to be believed and if believed, should result in a change of behavior as covered in the imperative section of the epistle.


[1] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 48.

[2] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 152.

[3] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 46-47.

[4] Ibid, 64.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, 49-54.

[7] See my outline, “The aid of natural revelation as tools in hermeneutics”, in the basic course of hermeneutics available at http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/introduction-to-hermeneutics-series-session-eleven-the-aid-of-natural-revelation-in-hermeneutics/ .

[8] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 155-6.

 

GO TO APPENDIX ONE

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GO TO PART XIII

I. Identifying New Testament Narrative and Gospels

a. Definitions

i.      Narratives is a literary form which gives historical details and it’s meaning found both in the Old and New Testament.

ii.      Gospels are a form of narrative found in the New Testament, which record the life and ministry of Jesus.

iii.      For the purpose of this outline, Gospels and New Testament narratives are considered together.

1. Principles for interpreting New Testament narratives are applicable to the Gospels.

2. Further principles for the Gospels will also be covered.

b. Where the genres can be found in the New Testament

i.      Gospels

1. Matthew

2. Mark

3. Luke

4. John

ii.      Non-Gospel Narrative

1. Acts

c. Elements[1]

i.      The essential elements include:

1. Scene

a. This is probably the most important element.

b. Scene involves sequence of event in the narrative.

2. Plot

This concerns the beginning, middle and ending of the development of the narrative.

3. Character

Who is involved in the narrative?

4. Setting

Where in space/time does this narrative takes place?

5. Point of view

ii.      Other elements:

1. Dialogues

2. Parables

3. Rhetorical devices[2]

II. General principles in interpretations

a. For New Testament Narratives and Gospel

i.      Consider how the text fits into the greater context of the section or book.

1. Each passage is part of a section that gives meaning to the greater whole.

2. The greater whole controls what each part means.

ii.      Considering the theology of the text

1. Make a distinction between descriptive and prescriptive passages.

2. Some of the accounts of events in narratives are not moral examples to emulate.

iii.      When possible, the proper interpretation of other portion of the Bible must be taken into account in interpreting particular narrative events.

1. Pay attention to antecedent theology.

a. What are prior revelation in the Bible that might shed some light on the historical narrative?

b. What theological theme previously revealed in the Old Testament is now being given fuller details in the passage under scrutiny?

2. Utilize the Epistles

Epistles can give fuller theological explanations of events recorded in the Gospel or Acts.

iv.      Asking theological questions of the text

1. What does this account tell us about God?

2. What does it tell us about the human condition?

3. What does it tell us of the world?

4. What does it tell us of the people of God and their relationship with Him?

5. What does it tell us of the individual believer’s life of faith?

v.      Watch the characters

1. Who are the main characters in the narrative?

Why are they important and what purpose do they serve in the text’s intention?

2. Who are the supporting characters in the narrative?

They are the foil for a reason, so why are they mentioned and how does this serve the text’s intention?

3. God is always in the narrative, even if He is not explicitly mentioned

This is why it is important to ask the theological questions of the text (see above).

vi.      Attention to the details of each scene

1. What has taken place previously in Biblical history at that location? Is there any significance of this?

2. What was the political and religious climate of the location?

vii.      Be conscious of the setting

There might be relevant background information that aid in interpretation.

viii.      Discern the point of view even within dialogues

1. Distinguish between dialogues and straight narrative.

2. Non-dialogues serve as the “Voice of God” about the event.

3. The words of Jesus or the prophets are authoritative!

4. The dialogue can portray the point of view of the speaker.

5. This is true unless the narrative makes it clear otherwise that the dialogue is a lie.

6. Point of view from human dialogue might not be truths from God.

ix.      Understand the plot

The plot is how each scene relates to each other!

b. For the Gospel

i.      Compare the parallel account in other Gospels

1. What are further facts given in the other Gospels about this event?

2. Why did the particular gospel made the editorial choice of what to include, and what not to include?

ii.      The teachings of Jesus must be read with care

1. What is He saying?

2. Why is He saying it?

3. How does this apply to me today?

iii.      The theological significance of Jesus miraculous works

1. It is important that these are not interpreted as prescriptive realities of the Christian life and ministry today per se.

2. It is important to understand the purpose of His miracle as testifying to the truth of Jesus as Messiah.

iv.      Implications of the Kingdom of God and the Covenants

1.      “One dare not think he or she can properly interpret the Gospels without a clear understanding of the kingdom of God in the ministry of Jesus.”[3]

2.      In light of Jewish eschatological anticipation of the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven), how do we understand the events in Jesus ministry?

3.      What aspects of the various biblical covenants point towards Jesus have been fulfilled in His first advent, and what aspects of biblical covenants remain to be fulfilled?

a.      Fulfilled aspects of the Covenant testify to Jesus as Lord!

b. Aspects of the Covenant that remain to be fulfilled will have implications for eschatology.[4]


[1] Many of these elements are found in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives as we-ll.  Much is borrowed from the previous session on Old Testament narratives in this outline.

[2] See my basic hermeneutic course for the fundamentals of the historical grammatical approach, in which items such as idioms, hyperbole, etc must be taken into account.

[3] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 131.

[4] This is a fascinating relationship between hermeneutics (principles in interpretation), genre (Gospels) the biblical covenants and systematic theology (specifically, eschatology)!

GO TO PART XV

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