Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Can We Best Interpret Scripture - Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

I have been reading Mark Driscoll's and Gerry Breshears' book, "Doctrine" recently and found this to be very helpful in explaining the question of how we can best interpret scripture. Here are four questions that Driscoll and Breshears suggest for interpreting the Bible. I will not quote the book at length, but only a few places that summarize the specific questions. The bold emphasis on the questions is mine.
 "The first question to ask is, what does the Scripture actually say? God wants to speak to you through the Bible. One error is to under-read the text, missing what is there through lack of attention. The opposite error is to over-read the text, putting preconceived opinions, ideas, or perspectives into the text, which is called eisegesis. Therefore, the goal is to humbly read the text to hear from God, which is called exegesis....

"The second question is, what does the Scripture mean? In this step you should look for what Scripture is teaching, especially in the original context. Much of the Bible was written to specific people in specific historical situations. The task is to discover that meaning and to understand the meaning of each text in its own terms, categories, and thought forms, beginning with the questions and issues the writer deals with, not the questions we bring. You will want to ask, what is the author trying to accomplish? What ideas or values is he trying to communicate? It is often helpful to write out your observations of the specifics of the text in a journal designated for personal Bible study."

"The third question is, what timeless principle truths is this section of Scripture teaching that apply to all of God's people in all times and places? There are many questions to ask to find the timeless universal principle. Is the text describing an event or belief, or is it prescribing (commanding) a practice, precept, promise, or value?"

"The fourth question is, how should I respond to what God has said? Here we are seeking to understand how the Bible's teaching applies to our life individually as Christians and corporately as a church today. The Bible shares content with an intended purpose, expecting that we will respond with belief and in other ways, depending upon what it says."

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