We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Good Biblical Interpretation

Let it be said at the outset … that the aim of good interpretation is not uniqueness; one is not trying to discover what no one else has seen before.  Interpretation that aims at, or thrives on, uniqueness can usually be attributed to pride (an attempt to “out clever” the rest of the world), a false understanding of spirituality (wherein the Bible is full of deep truths waiting to be mined by the spiritually sensitive person with special insight), or vested interests (the need to support a theological bias, especially in dealing with texts that seem to go against that bias).  Unique interpretations are usually wrong.  This is not to say that understanding of a text may not often seem unique to someone who hears it for the first time.  But it is to say that uniqueness is not the aim of our task.  The aim of good interpretation is simple: to get at the “plain meaning of the text.” And the most important ingredient one brings to that task is enlightened common sense.  The test of good interpretation is that it makes good sense of the text.  Correct interpretation, therefore, brings relief to the mind as well as a prick or prod to the heart.

Gordon Fee, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pgs.13-14


High Sierra Flyfisherman said...

Glenn love your stuff.The old WCF has a section right in chapter 1 that speaks to this point.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

This why the reformers were so passionate to get the Bible into the hands, eyes, ears, minds and hearts of the people.

If one lives on the coast, and walks often on the beach, there is always some new precious shell, stone or drift wood to be found, but most are lying just out in plain site....though for a few one must dig for them. But one must walk the beach...i.e. Read the Bible .

I often use old John Gill's commentary on the Bible, if I need some theological insight. He wrote in the mid-1700's, and commented on almost every phrase in the Bible.....I find it most useful to read someone who wrote before all those that Gordon Fee mentioned took over our understanding of the text. Btw. In my brief attempt at seminary, GCTS, Dr. Fee was my advisor....maybe I should have stuck with it.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

What is the WCF?

High Sierra Flyfisherman said...

Another old and neglected text...
The Westminster Confession of Faith. WCF

Adopted in various forms by not only Presbyterian, but Baptist and Congregational denominations back when their churches still had a sense of sound Biblical guidance. Most today only have it sitting on the book shelf among other creeds and confessions.

I actually find it most useful and very clear teaching, but then I actual read it and the words have real meaning.

I know of only one very Bible based church, actually a Dutch Reformed Church, (they are a denomination that has their own confession and catechism texts), that actual also teaches from the Westminster texts regularly.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

OH, Okay.

I don't bother with Calvinist teachings, which is why I didn't recognize the abbreviation. I prefer to stick with the Bible.

High Sierra Flyfisherman said...

I can see that. I too try to keep focus on the Bible. On my own blog I am 80-90% focused on chapters I'm reading.

But as mentioned above, I do find the Confession insightful and useful in conversation.....though most people do not.
I appreciate your openness to my comments.

Another example, and we don't need to continue the discussion.

Also from Chapter 1 (Which just reinforces your own emphasis.)

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:

unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:

and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.