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Archive for the ‘historical grammatical hermeneutics’ Category

(NOTE: The following is a quick sketch of my thoughts on the hermeneutical connection between Calvinism, Presuppositionalism and Dispensationalism; I plan sometime in the future to interact more with the literatures on Covenant Theology, hermeneutics and Presuppositionalism, particularly the essays in Revelation and Reason by the faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary, many of whom I have grown so much from their work!)

As Christians, one’s ultimate authority should be the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16, etc).  Its authority should be over every area of our lives.  If we truly believe the Word, we would live our lives in light of it’s truth; namely it should be interpreting our experience, prescribing to us what to do and not to do, along with the Word providing the provisions of God’s truths that motivate one to obedience (Note: John Frame’s Perspectivalism is helpful here, with his triade of the situational, normative and existential).  That’s a round-about way of saying that knowing Scriptural truths should lead us to apply God’s Word.  Heed the word of James 1:22 (NASB):

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

If we could illustrate this truth:

Bible apply to life

But one must remember that one can also misapply God’s Word.  That can happen in two ways: (1) One can misinterpret the truths from the Bible, (2) or one can misinterpret one’s situation and apply the wrong Biblical remedy, even though the principles themselves are true and from God’s Word.  Two quick examples: With (1), you have a cultist who thinks the Bible teaches salvation by works which bring with it  an array of negative effects (damnation in eternity, and present experience of  unresolved guilt, condemnation from one’s conscience, etc).  An example of (2) is when you have someone who knows that the Bible teaches marriage fidelity between a man and a woman; but then this individual is calling a particular girl he likes to be faithful to him–even though they are not in a relationship and she doesn’t want to be with him.  He just merely thinks he’s married already.

The fact that we can misapply God’s Word by misinterpreting what it says should sober us and make us desire to be more conscious of how we interpret the Bible.  In fact, interpretation of God’s Word has logical priority over it’s application, because one cannot apply God’s Word if one does not understand or know it.  In order to get the proper interpretation, we want to apply good and sound principles of interpretations to the Word.  The study of the principles, method and other presuppositions involved in interpretation is called hermeneutics.

We illustrate it like this:

Bible hermeneutical bridge to life

To reach the goal of applying the Bible to one’s life, the journey of interpretation travels over a hermeneutical “bridge.”  I think the bridge is quite an appropriate analogy since it is foundational for interpretation.  Furthermore, a good hermeneutic will rise above and not crumble into the sea of meaninglessness, subjectivism, etc.

If one wants to be more nuance, we might add that the content of one’s interpretation of the Bible is what we call doctrine.  Think of God’s attributes, the Trinity, Incarnation, etc.  For the purpose of this essay, we will call bodies of doctrines ” theology.” The content of our theology will impact our lives, but we want to make sure they are coming from God’s Word.  Our illustration is thus modified:

Bible hermeneutical bridge to theology

 

Theology can be quite broad.  For instance, we have the following traditional divisions in theology:

  • Bibliology (Doctrines pertaining to the Word of G0d)
  • Theology Proper (Doctrines pertaining to God Himself and His Works)
  • Anthropology (Doctrines pertaining to man)
  • Hamartiology (Doctrines pertaining to sin)
  • Christology (Doctrines pertaining to Christ)
  • Soteriology (Doctrines pertaining to Salvation)
  • Pneumatology (Doctrines pertaining to the Holy Spirit)
  • Ecclesiology(Doctrines pertaining to the church)
  • Eschatology (Doctrines pertaining to Last things)

More could be added, to include:

  • Israelology (Doctrines pertaining to the ethnic group of Israel)
  • Apologetics (Doctrines pertaining to the defense of the faith)

Or things concerning a “Christian philosophy:”

  • Epistemology (Philosophy of knowledge)
  • Metaphysics (Philosophy of reality)
  • Ethics (Philosophy of moral standards)
  • Aesthetics (Philosophy of beauty)

We can go on and on, but you get the idea.

As one notice above, I put apologetics under theology, because I believe apologetics ultimately is the application of God’s Word to unbelief.  I also believe one’s theology will shape one’s apologetics:

Bible hermeneutical bridge to apologetics

 

The divisions in theology that will shape one’s apologetics include the following (note the sample questions):

  • Theology Proper (Is God knowable or not?)
  • Bibliology (Is God’s revelation of Himself clear?  Is the Bible self-evidencing?)
  • Anthropology (What is man and does he have dignity and meaning?)
  • Hamartiology (What is the extent of man’s sinfulness and how will he interpret the evidences?)
  • Soteriology (How does God bring people to a saving knowledge of Himself?)
  • Pneumatology (What is the role of the Holy Spirit in apologetics?)

How Calvinistic Theology answer the above question will lead to a method called Presuppositional apologetics (those unfamiliar with Presuppositional apologetics might want to listen to Greg Bahnsen’s lectures first):

Bible hermeneutical bridge to calvinistic theology then presuppositional apologetics

 

If we answer the above questions we get this:

  • Is God knowable or not?  Yes (Psalm 19:1-6).
  • Is God’s revelation of Himself clear?  Yes (Romans 1:18ff, Psalms 19).
  • Is the Bible self-evidencing?  Yes (Luke 16:31).
  • What is man and does he have dignity and meaning?  Yes, because He’s made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26 cf. James 3:9).
  • What is the extent of man’s sinfulness and how will he interpret the evidences?  Total depraved, who suppresses the truth (Romans 1:18ff).
  • How does God bring people to a saving knowledge of Himself?  Among many things, the Gospel being preached (Romans 10:14-15); ultimately, salvation is not on the basis of man’s will (John 1:12) since man doesn’t even seek God (Romans 3:10) unless God bring about through His effectual call.
  • What is the role of the Holy Spirit in apologetics?  Holy Spirit convicts and regenerate sinners on the occasion of the Gospel being preached (John 16:8, Titus 3:5, etc).

The above answer will definitely shape how one goes about defending the faith such as what constitute as evidences, the weight of the evidences and how does the nonbeliever handles the evidences, who should be in the “dock,” etc.

No doubt the Calvinist believes that his answer is properly drawn out from the Scriptures (see the verses with it; obviously space does not permit a lengthy exposition of the above but an older Reformed Systematic Theology text by Berkhof can be accessed here).  The Calvinist will say that his correct interpretation of the Scriptures is the result of a strong hermeneutical foundational “bridge.”

What is the Calvinist’s foundation that led him to arrive at his answer in interpreting Psalm 19, Romans 1, Luke 16:31, Titus 3:5, etc?  It’s the historical-grammatical approach:

Bible historical grammatical hermeneutical bridge to calvinistic theology then presuppositional apologetics

He interprets the passages in it’s original context, with consideration of the function and meaning of words while aware of the literary forms of what’s he’s reading.  He looks at the verses and is careful to draw out grammatical and syntactical insight from the Bible.  To that I say praise the Lord!

Recognizing how foundational hermeneutics is should definitely make us give it some attention in one’s own theological approach and also when we dialogue with others; and an important litmus test of a good hermeneutic is consistency.

When the subject of Dispsensational theology comes up, the majority of Calvinists reject it (there are of course a subset that are Dispensationalists). An example of this rejection happened in a recent discussion I had with a particular individual:

Dispensationalism is built upon two foundations or presuppositions. (Ryrie et. al.) Number one is that we must absolutely make the distinction between Israel and the church. We must not confuse those two. The second foundation or presupposition is that we must take a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, especially Old Testament prophesies. So, from that foundation, it is asserted in dispensationalism that God has two peoples, his earthly people – the Israelites, and his heavenly people – the Church.

From that, it is taught that in the OT, God primarily dealt with his earthly people, gave them his law, promised to give them the land of Canaan forever etc. So, when it comes to reading the books of the major and minor prophets, and the prophesies concerning the regathering of Israel into the land, the rebuilding of the temple, the sending of a Davidic king to physically reign on earth etc., they expect all that to be fulfilled literally.

This individual also added: “Reformed theology on the other hand, sees the history of salvation completely differently.”

To reject Dispensationalism because of it’s literal, historical and grammatical hermeneutics as a Calvinists seems problematic:

  1. If Dispensational theology is the product of interpreting the Bible via a literal reading of the Scriptures, then IT IS what the Bible teaches.
  2. Calvinism is arrived at from a literal hermenutic.  So is Dispensationalism.  If I may give the analogy, both Calvinism and Dispensationalism are like two trucks of God’s truth crossing the hermeneutical bridge of historical and grammatical approach:

Dispensationalism Calvinism Hermeneutical Bridge

 If you want to “blow up” the bridge, you also blow up the very bridge that Calvinism is traveling on.  If you don’t attack the bridge, Calvinism comes out from the Bible–with Dispensationalism right behind it.

3. I realize that one might object to my second point, that the interpretation is not as literal for the Old Testament prophetic books, etc.  However, there are prophecies in the Old Testament that are taken literally in predicting the fulfillment of the Messiah.  I would say that the same historical-grammatical hermeneutic that Christian apologists used to demonstrate that the Old Testament points towards Christ is also the same hermeneutic which reveal certain promises to Israel in the Prophetic genre:

Hermeneutics Bridge

Sometimes these Messianic prophecies and promises to Israel are closely interwined in the text.  The same historical grammatical approach in the Messianic passage also yield the promises of God to Israel.  Again, for the Calvinist who reject Dispensationalism it’s a case of inconsistency:  Will one accept these literal Messianic prophecies while rejecting the embedded promises to Israel as being literal?

I can only provide a sketch at this time but Lord willing I would like in the future to explore more Messianic prophecies and how some are sitting right next to additional promises God made towards Israel.  These are promises to Israel that God hasn’t fulfilled yet–and suggests eschatological significance.  I have looked briefly in Zechariah 12:10 in the past as one example and again, I hope to explore more of Christ in the Old Testament–while also discovering promises to Israel in the context as well.

CONCLUSION

I know many who read this are cautious about the subject of Dispensationalism; like you, I’m rather weary of  the sensationalism of Pop Dispensationalism (think of Left Behind Series, Chick Tracks, the guy who read the headlines to interpret the Bible, those who have End Times as a hobby horse but have no love for other truths in Scripture , etc).  But it seems that as we look at the hermeneutical foundation for Presuppositional Apologetics, it does have implication concerning Dispensationalism.  Specifically: the very hermeneutic that leads one to interpret the Bible and become a Presuppositionalists is also the very hermeneutic that gives us from the Bible Dispensational truths.

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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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a-covenant-with-god

I. Definition

a. A Near Eastern form of literature that offers “a binding agreement between two parties…”[1]

b. “Covenant in the OT essentially incorporates a legally binding obligation.”[2]

II. Two forms of Covenants

a. Note: Covenants appear throughout the Ancient Near East during the era of the Old Testament.  It seems that the Old Testament intentionally structure the format that appear around them.[3]

b. Voluntary partnership

i.      Both parties enter into the covenant voluntarily.

ii.      The terms of the covenant is agreed upon bilaterally.

iii.      Examples include Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31:54) and David with Jonathan (1st Samuel 18:3-4).

c. Imposed by a superior on a subordinate

i.      “It usually designates an agreement made to or for, not with, the subordinate, depicting a legally binding promise which one party makes toward another.”[4]

ii.      The terms of the covenant is agreed upon unilaterally.

iii.      Examples include Noahic, Abrahamic and Davidic Covenant.

III. Elements of a Covenant

a. Pledges or gifts

b. Signs

i.      “Though similar to a pledge or gift, which was given when enacting a human covenant, the sign of a divine covenant was generally a repeatable memorial.”[5]

ii.      Examples include: Circumcision and the Rainbow.

c. Witnesses

Can be others or God

d. Consequences

i.      Blessings

1. Obedience to the covenant bring forth good fruits.

2. Positive consequences.

ii.      Curses

1. Disobedience to the covenant bring forth severe punishments.

2. Negative consequences.

e. Promises

i.      Covenants are forms of promises.

ii.      Covenants with God depends on God to fulfill it.

f. Conditionality

i.      This is only for covenants that are of voluntary partnership.

ii.      Not the case for covenants that are unilateral.

IV. Identifying Biblical Covenants in the Bible

a. By Biblical covenants, this syllabus is referring to covenants that include God as a party.

b. We can only know the covenants that God made from what He has revealed to us in His Word.

c. Given the above, there is no room for any man-made ideas of covenants that are the result of speculations.

d. Therefore, Biblical covenants are identified by what the Scripture explicitly identify as covenants.

i.      While covenants are promises, not every promise is a covenant.

ii.      As a result, covenant can only be identified when it is called a covenant.

V. Importance of Covenants in Hermeneutics

a. It is a frequent theme found in the Scriptures

i.      “The covenant idea itself, first mentioned in Genesis 6 during the days of Noah, is intricately woven into the fabric of the biblical account all the way through to Revelation 11 where the “ark of His covenant” reappears in the temple. The word itself occurs in 27 of 39 OT books and in 11 of 27 NT books.”[6]

ii.      Given how frequently it is mentioned, it is important to understand the Covenants that appear in the Bible.

b.      It is God’s promise found in the Scriptures

i.      Covenants are the thread that goes through the entire Bible.

ii.      The Bible is about God as the Hero: He is the one who will keep His promises.

iii.      “For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold ofthe hope set before us.”  (Hebrews 6:16-18)

 


[1] Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Readings From the Ancient Near East, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 96.

[2] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 173.

[3] Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Readings From the Ancient Near East, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 96.

[4] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 176.

[5] Ibid, 178.

[6] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 173.

 

GO TO PART 2

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Bible 2

 

Ideally in a perfect world, I would love to develop and teach a four level hermeneutics course and lecture series.  Level One would be Introduction to heremeneutics.  Level two on the Literary Forms/Genres found in the Bible.  Level three would be on the covenants of the Bible and it’s hermeneutical implications.  Finally level four would be a course on Logic.  Then there’s other hermeneutical topic that deserve to be taught in it’s own right as well (perhaps as an elective?): how does the NT uses the OT, and Finding Christ in the Scriptures, etc.

I have made Level one and two available online.

Beginning next Saturday, Lord willing we will feature outlines as teaching aides going over the covenants that are explicitly found in the BIble that has hermeneutical implications.

It will be a short series.

Stay tune!

And pray!

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bassano_jacopo_garden_of_eden

The topic of the historicity of Adam as the first man is a hot topic today in theology since some Evangelicals have come out to deny the historicity of Adam. The following is an outline from a bigger series I have going through a Biblical view of man.  I hope the following is helpful to think about how various genre that is unquestionably literal found in the Bible interprets the meaning and genre of Genesis 1-3 literally.

Purpose: To consider the arguments for the historical Adam as the first man God created.

I. Special Creation of Adam and Eve according to Genesis 1-2

a. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-31)

i.      This is the more general account of the creation of man, Genesis 2 will be more specific.

ii.      “Man” here is literally “Adam” in the Hebrew.

iii.      Notice here the plurality within God creating man

1. “Let Us make

2. “in Our image

3. “according to Our likeness

iv.      Notice the role of man in God’s creation in this verse.

b. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

 i.      This account is more specific than Genesis 1.

 ii.      Again, “man” here is literally “Adam” in the Hebrew.

iii.      Two details of Adam’s creation

1. Formed from the ground

2. God breathed into his nostril

c. “The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:22)

i.      This account is the creation of the first woman, later named Eve in Genesis 3:20.

ii.      Note Eve was made from Adam’s rib.

II.  There have been those who have questioned the historicity of the Bible’s account of the creation of man with Adam being the firstMan.  For example:

a. Tremper Longman III[1]

b. Bruce Waltke: From a headline of the news, “OT Professor Bruce Waltke resigns from RTS Orlando Faculty amid historical Adam and Eve controversy”[2]

c. Peter Enns: “Likewise, Israel’s story was written to say something about their place in the world and the God they worshiped. To think that the Israelites, alone among all other ancient peoples, were interested in (or capable of) giving some definitive, quasi-scientific, account of human origins is an absurd logic. And to read the story of Adam and Eve as if it were set up to so such a thing is simply wrongheaded.”[3]

III. Objections comes down to an issue of hermeneutics

a. In his book against the historical Adam, Peter Enns writes, “One cannot read Genesis literally—meaning as a literally accurate description of physical, historical reality—in view of the state of scientific knowledge today and our knowledge of ancient Near Eastern stories of origin.”[4]

b. The role of presupposing evolution in shaping interpretation of Genesis 1-3: “If evolution is true, one can no longer accept, in any true sense of the word ‘historical,’ the instantaneous and special creation of humanity described in Genesis, specifically 1:26-31 and 2:7, 22.”[5]

IV. Why we should interpret Genesis 1-2 and Adam literally and historically

a. Genre of Genesis 1-2 is narrative and hence it should be treated as revealing literal information.

i.      The essential elements of Hebrew narratives include[6]:

1. Scene

a. This is probably the most important element.

b. Scene involves sequence of event in the narrative.

c. In the Hebrew text, the component of scene can be established by the pattern of wayyiqtol.[7]

i.      Wayyiqtol is a syntactical construct of a conjunction (wow consecutive) + prefixed form/preterite/imperfect verb.

ii.      Wayyiqtol is often used to establish temporal or logical sequence.

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.      Genesis 1-2 has the element of the literary form of narrative

1. Scene:

a. Sequences of days (Genesis 1), Creation of AdamàGod’s dialogueàCreation of Eve (Genesis 2)

b. Genesis 1-2 has many Wayyiqtol is a syntactical construct of a conjunction (wow consecutive) + prefixed form/preterite/imperfect verb.

2. Plot: Five days of creation then the creation of man on the sixth day and then rest (Genesis 1); Lonliness of Adam then creation of Eve (Genesis 2)

3. Character: God, Adam and Eve.

4. Setting: The newly created world (Genesis 1), Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14)

5. Point of view: God’s point of view of creation chronologically (Genesis 1), God’s point of view of creation of man specifically (Genesis 2)

b. How does the rest of the Bible interpret Genesis 1-2?

i.      Methodological consideration

1. Since some say that Genesis 1-2 was originally not intended to be interpreted literally, that it’s meant to be understood as symbolic, so we have to ask the question of how the rest of the Bible interpret Genesis 1-2.

2. If the rest of the Bible as God’s infallible Word interpret Genesis 1-2 literally such as believing in a literal Adam and Eve, then we ought to see this data as God’s perspective on Genesis 1-2 and purpose of writing it is literal.

 ii.      Within Genesis

1. Note: Adam and Evil is presuppose as historical lest the rest of Genesis becomes nonsensical.

2. Narrative of the fall in Genesis 3 presupposes a literal Adam and Eve.

3. Those that have children are real, historically existent people.  Adam and Eve had children and therefore historically existed.

a. Adam and Eve is described as having children such as Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-2).

b. Adam described in a genealogy (Genesis 4:25, 5:1)

iii.      Book of Job: “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,” (Job 31:33)

At a minimum, this presupposes the story of Genesis 3 and a reference to Adam.

 iv.      Book of Hosea: “But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.” (Hosea 6:7)

1. Here the sin of God’s people are compared to Adam’s sin.

2. Only a real person can transgress a covenant.

v.      Genealogies: 1 Chronicles 1:1, Luke 3:38.

1. Genealogy as a literally form is meant to refer to real people.

2. Adam is referred to in genealogies and therefore God’s Word is here attesting to the fact that Adam was historical.

vi.      Reinforcing the historicity of genealogies, Jude 14 as a straight forward epistle indicating God’s own Word interpreted genealogies literally.

vii.      Both Adam and Eve are presupposed as real in 1 Timothy 2:13-14.

1. Paul could have just invoked his apostolic authority concerning how women ought to behave.

2. The event of the fall of Adam and Eve is invoked here as the basis for Paul’s admonition.

viii.      Paul’s preaching of the Gospel to Athenian philosophers presupposes Adam as the father of all: “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,” (Acts17:26)

1. Note that the Greeks did not believe God made all man from one person.

2. They believe that their own race (Greeks) had nothing to do with others since they were far more superior.

3. Yet Acts 17 is Paul’s sermon that lays the foundation to make the Gospel intelligible and he found it important to bring up Adam as the first man of all.

 ix.      Adam is presuppose as historical figure in the underpinning of the Gospel.

1. Just as Christ was historical and imputed righteousness for justification so too was Adam presupposed as historical imputing sin (Romans 5:12-21).

2. Just as Christ was historical and gave us life so too was Adam presupposed as historical giving us death (1 Corinthians 15:20-58).


[4] Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012), 137.

[5] Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam, (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012), xiv.

[6] The following essential elements are found in Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., “Narrative”, Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1995), 69-76.

[7] The discussion about the wayyiqtol is from Robert B. Chisholm Jr., From Exegesis to Exposition, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 119-120.

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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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