Session 2 - Applying Scripture
-1- Interpreting Scripture
The technical word for the process of interpreting Scripture is hermeneutics.
hermeneuo: to translate (Jn. 1:42; 9:7; Heb. 7:2)
methermeneuo: to translate (Matt. 1:23; Mk. 5:41; 15:22; Jn. 1:38, 41; Acts 4:36; 13:8) hermeneia, diermeneuo, diermeneustes: to interpret (1 Cor. 12:10, 30; 14:5, 13, 26–28) diermeneuo: to explain (Lk. 24:27)
“Every debate in the history of the church is conditioned in part by hermeneutical considerations” (D. A. Carson).
Interpretation bridges the gap between the original audience and the current audience. We determine the _______________ of Scripture for the _______________ audience. We determine the _______________ of Scripture for the _______________ audience.
1. The _______________ Context
We determine the meaning of words, and how they relate to one another (i.e., syntax). We aren’t primarily concerned with “etymology.” Etymology isn’t a very reliable guide to understanding how words are used in Scripture.
Words are interpreted in light of the verse. Verses are interpreted in light of the paragraph. Paragraphs are interpreted in light of the section. Sections are interpreted in light of the book. Books are interpreted in light of the whole Bible.
We identify developments, resumptions, summations, arguments, parallelisms, etc.
_______________: The reversal of a structure to emphasize the main point. _______________: A bracketing structure that points to a central theme. _______________: A repeated phrase, line, or verse that shows theme.
We interpret Scripture “literally” – that is, according to its literary genre: narrative (Genesis), apocalyptic (Daniel), poetic (Psalms), prophetic (Isaiah), proverb (Proverbs), parable (Matt. 13), etc.
2. The _______________ Context
We seek to determine the environment in which to interpret the book: politics, economics, religion, philosophy, etc. This keeps us from reading 21st century meaning back into 1st century language.
Author? Date? Audience?
What’s the big idea?
3. The _______________ Context
Scripture is to be interpreted in light of Scripture. We must, therefore, determine the central themes of Scripture. These provide us with a point of reference. We use doctrines,
constructed from clear texts, as the basis for interpreting unclear texts. These don’t determine the meaning of a text, but they rule out aberrant interpretations. They establish boundaries within which accurate interpretation takes place.
4. The _______________ Context
Biblical theology is tracing the great themes of salvation history according to their historical order of unfolding. It presupposes two basic truths:
The _______________ of Scripture
The _______________ of Scripture
Christ is the inspired interpreter of the OT. Christ (and the NT writers) understand the OT Christologically. See Matt. 5:17; Lk. 24:26–27, 44–47; Jn. 5:39. When we turn to the OT, we interpret it not as an end itself, but according to its ultimate end: Christ (Eph. 1:11).
Bruce, F. F. History of the Bible in English, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press,
Caird, G. B. The Language and Imagery of the Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1980.
Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. 7th ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007. Goldsworthy, Graeme. According to Plan. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1991,
Kaiser, Walter C. and Moisés Silva. An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Revised and Expanded ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007.
McCartney, Dan, and Charles Clayton. Let the Reader Understand: A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible. 2nd ed. Phillipsburg: P&R, 2002.
Longman, Tremper. Old Testament Commentary Survey. 5th ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2007. Plummer, Robert L. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids: Kregel,
Roberts, Vaughn. Life’s Big Questions: Six Major Themes Traced Through the Bible. London: Intervarsity, 2004.
Stein, Robert H. A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007. Virkler, Henry A. Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. 2nd
ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007.
Wegner, Paul D. The Journey from Texts to Translations. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000.
J. Stephen Yuille
-2- Applying Scripture
We bring together the work of the Holy Spirit with the lexical, historical, canonical, and theological contexts. This is how we determine meaning. The biblical text not only informs the reader/listener, but also performs/works on and in the reader/listener. “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13).
1. _______________ the Gap
2. _______________ the Point
3. _______________ the Need
4. _______________ the Response
“Having isolated your doctrine and having got it quite clear in your own mind, you then proceed to consider the relevance of this particular doctrine to the people who are listening to you ... You are speaking to people who are confronting problems of life ...” Martyn Lloyd-Jones
J. Stephen Yuille