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Biblical Interpretation #6

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This is where you take all you have observed and studied and reduce it down to the core principles or main lessons taught by the passage.
This is where you take all you have observed and studied and reduce it down to the core principles or main lessons taught by the passage.
What does the passage teach?
For instance, -2 teaches God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day.
What is the overall theme?
One passage may contain multiple themes, but if you were to explain to the class, you should show how the theme is apparent in the text.
Examples of themes in -2:
God: Creator
Creation and Life Of Adam
The Beginning or Origin
Idolatry
Prayer
God: The Holy Spirit
Worship
Humanity: Genders - Male and Female
Humility
Humanity: Marriage
God: Sovereignty
Image of God
Jesus: Atonement
What are the principles that transcend time and culture?
Principles are specific statements of truth (believe) and/or steps of action (obedience) we must take as a result of what we see in the passage. They serve to support the main theme.
A theological principle should...
Be reflected in the text.
Be timeless and not tied to a specific situation
Not be culturally bound
correspond to the teaching of the rest of Scripture
Be relevant to both the biblical and contemporary audience.
For instance, these are the principles of IF I were to talk about God as the Creator.
The Creator created something out of nothing.
The Creator was not created by something or anything.
The Creator created the world for a purpose, not by accident or arbitrary reasons.
The Creator designed marriage to be between male and female.
God is the Creator, humans are His creation.
God created humans for His glory.
God’s creation is meant to
The Creator designed marriage to be between male and female.
God’s creation in the beginning is the ideal culture.
If you’re creative, you could outline the principles in an acronym
Consult the experts
What do other experts - theologians and scholars - have to say about the text? This is where commentaries or study guides would come in handy.
Many Christians begin their study of the Bible here. However, God requires us to study His word, not the commentaries (I’m guilty of this as well). If we begin our study here, then I don’t think we are really studying the Bible, but what someone else said. Thus, we miss out on the journey of discovery.
Only after you done the observation, study, and outline do you have permission to consult with experts. Commentaries should be used to help safeguard you from errors (and heresies).
Think of it as doing Math homework. You study and work on your exercises. After finishing the exercises, you can check the answer sheet in the textbook or from the teacher.
Questions to think about:
What do others say about the passage that you have studied?
What do they say the main idea or theme is?
What principles do they see in the passage?
Do they agree with you or are they radically different?
If what you studied is different from others, then understand why.
Is there something that you missed or misunderstood in the text?
You may want to have more than one Bible commentary.
What to do when commentaries do not agree?
What to do when two commentaries do not agree with each other?
Find out what they do not agree on.
Humbly acknowledge two different views and you could state where which view you are currently leaning towards and why.
Answer the “why” based on your observation, study, and outline.
Understand which view fits the context the best.
How does the passage point to the Gospel?
Every passage should directly or indirectly connect to the gospel. It is designed to reveal God’s grace upon sinners through Jesus. Jesus made it clear that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” ().
Scripture was written for (and to) fallen people. It describes humanity’s fallen state. This is known as Fallen Condition Focus (FCF).
The Old Testament points to God’s redemptive plan through Jesus.
FCF means “the mutual human condition that contemporary believers share with those to or for whom the text was written that requires the grace of the passage.” (Bryan Chapell)
The New Testament explain God’s redemptive plan through Jesus and what it means to live as Christians.
FCF addresses our sinful choices, behaviours and desires. Sin is both commission and omission. Sin of commission is doing what Scripture forbids us to do (e.g. do not steal or lust). Sin of omission is failing to do what Scripture commands us (e.g. serve the LORD with gladness).
FCF also addresses the reality that we are living in a sinful and broken world. We feel the pain when catastrophe strikes. We mourn over the lost of loved ones. We experience disappointment, loneliness and sadness.
FCF helps us to see our need for God and His grace which we often fail to embrace. The Gospel calls us to repent of our sins and to believe because we are created for Him and to find our satisfaction in Him.
FCF points to Christ’s solution found in His person and work. In Jesus, our desires are ultimately satisfied, our sinful tendency ultimately conquered, and our hope ultimately met.

Application

Look up all the questions in Step Five.
Scripture was written for (and to) fallen people. It describes humanity’s fallen state. This is known as Fallen Condition Focus (FCF).
FCF means “the mutual human condition that contemporary believers share with those to or for whom the text was written that requires the grace of the passage.” (Bryan Chapell)
FCF addresses our sinful choices, behaviours and desires. Sin is both commission and omission. Sin of commission is doing what Scripture forbids us to do (e.g. do not steal or lust). Sin of omission is failing to do what Scripture commands us (e.g. serve the LORD with gladness).
FCF also addresses the reality that we are living in a sinful and broken world. We feel the pain when catastrophe strikes. We mourn over the lost of loved ones. We experience disappointment, loneliness and sadness.
FCF helps us to see our need for God and His grace which we often fail to embrace. The Gospel calls us to repent of our sins and to believe because we are created for Him and to find our satisfaction in Him.
FCF points to Christ’s solution found in His person and work. In Jesus, our desires are ultimately satisfied, our sinful tendency ultimately conquered, and our hope ultimately met.
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