How To Read the Bible for All It’s Worth -Part 1

How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart is an outstanding primer on understanding and applying Scripture. The approach by the authors breaks down the Bible into its diverse genres and gives principles and examples for interpreting each type. The following will be a summary of the contents of the main tenets of the book.

Introduction: The Need to Interpret
1. The reader will always be an interpreter.
2. The nature of Scripture begs for interpretation.
3. The 1st task of the interpreter is exegesis.
4. Learning to do exegesis requires a knowledge of the historical context, literary context,understanding the actual content, and using good tools to accomplish these tasks.
5. The 2nd task is hermeneutics: seeking the contemporary relevance of the ancient texts.

The Basic Tool: A Good Translation
1. In order to choose a good translation, one must understand the science of translation.

The Epistles: Learning to Think Contextually
1. The Epistles are occasional documents that address a variety of issues.
2. To interpret the Epistles, one must reconstruct the situation the author is speaking to in the historical context.
3. Tracing the author’s argument will solidify the literary context of the epistle.

The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions
1. Many interpreters make the mistake of bringing their theological heritage, ecclesiastical traditions, cultural norms, and existential concerns to the epistles as they read them.
2. The 1st basic rule of Biblical interpretation is that a text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his readers.
3. The 2nd basic rule is that when we share similar specific life situations with the 1st century hearers, God’s Word to us is the same as his Word to them.
4. When there are comparable specific life situations, God’s Word to us in such texts must always be limited to its original intent.
5. There are 2 kinds of texts in the Epistles: those that speak to 1st century issues that for the most part are without 21st century counterparts, and those texts that speak to problems that could possibly happen also in the 21st century but are highly unlikely to do so.
6. Difficulties and differences lie in the problem of cultural relativity because God’s eternal Word has been given in historical particularity.
7. Because of the occasional nature of the Epistles, caution needs to be raised about forming task theology beyond what the passage explicitly states.

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