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Old 02-13-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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I am interested in people's views on what constitutes proper exegesis and sound hermeneutical principles in Bible study. Thanks!

Preterist
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Nashville, Tn
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I had to look up both of those words and I don't think I can pronounce either of them. I think from a religious point of view that there can only be one source of information that is considered to be authoritative and that is the Bible itself. I know that this question is likely the result of your debates with Campbell34. He is sincere in his beliefs, he's consistent, and he's never rude, so he does deserve credit for that but if someone is going to be a Christian I don't think you can pick and choose whatever text you want to guide you.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica
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"hermeneutical principles"

The fact that hermenutics (that is, guidelines for interpretation) is necessary to acquire the "knowledge" found in the Bible is a clue that it can't be the product of a "higher intelligence." Think about it.
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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Thanks for your replies! My concern for asking this question is that there seems to be little emphasis today on the proper approach to studying the Bible. Sadly, most Christians, especially concerning eschatological passages, jump immediately to the application process (i.e. what does it mean for me?) without giving careful and thorough thought and diligence to the historical setting, context, and audience relevance of a passage.

By proper hermeneutic I had in mind the asking and answering of such questions as: who wrote the book, why did he write the book, what was going on at the time of his writing, who were the primary recipients of his book, and what would his words have meant to them?

Using sound hermeneutical principles is hard work which oftentimes involves word studies, historical backgrounds, cultural influences, and cross-referencing (seeing what similar passages say).

I also had in mind the concepts of exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is the gleaning from the Scriptures the truths that are plainly found there in order to form our theological doctrines or teachings. Eisegesis is the reading into a Scripture passage a preconceived idea. This far too often leads to misinterpretations.

It is a difficult thing to neutralize presuppositions and lay them aside in order to accept the plain meanings of Bible words, passages, and books. For over twenty years I was a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation, dispensationalist. Why? Because it was what I had been taught and it was all I knew. I was not a good Berean and did not hold up teachings in the light of Scripture. When I came to the place where I wanted to know for myself, I set out to prove what I believed through personal Bible study. As I began to study indepth and with the proper approach and tools, however, I began to watch many of my beliefs (mostly eschatological) crumble in the light of the Word. At first I was angry at those who had misled me, but I have now come to see that I and my laziness were responsible for keeping me in error all of those years.

In spite of the accusations of those who disagree with me and even call me an heretic, it is not my ultimate desire to make people agee with me. I simply seek to encourage my fellow believers to know what they believe and why? I encourage them that if they are going to disagree with me, do so with sound, biblical arguments.

I try to make it a policy to be silent concering those things which I cannot personally and biblically support, because I believe that it is a serious thing to misundertand the Scriptures, especially those teachings that come from the very lips of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am sorrowful for the number of people I have led astray over the years with my false teachings--I pray that they have overcome my errors.

If I am to be accused of being stubborn and unyielding, may it always be because I am rightly dividing the Word of Truth!

How do you study the Bible? Any principles you'd like to share?

Preterist
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:12 AM
 
37,587 posts, read 25,288,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preterist View Post
How do you study the Bible? Any principles you'd like to share?
Preterist
To the extent that you avail yourself of the available knowledge about authorship, historical context, audience (including likely psychological composition of their minds and socio-cultural gestalts) expectations in following the Christ, goals and objectives, etc.etc. then your approach will be superior to a simple literal reading . . . but it is still carnal and is subject to the prior misunderstandings of the primitives of the day that Jesus came to correct. The prime directive so to speak is that the bible is neither a history book nor an anthroplogical tome . . . as those features are ancillary to the spiritual purpose of the recordings. For that reason, I add two additional parameters to the preceding in my interpretations.

One is that the guidance is spiritual and concerns spiritual development of our souls to prepare for the next stage . . . NOT carnal. So gleaning the spiritual message for its impact on our "state of mind" is paramount.

Two is that any prophesies are the result of a spiritual DNA or template built-in to the evolution of our brain chronicling the path our species spiritual evolution will take and the events that will accompany it . . . NOT specific carnal events in a specific temporal context . . . except for the order. The lack of temporal specificity means the sequences are not for use in seeing the future (specifically enjoined) and are only to be seen in retrospect as they confirm the validity of the scriptures themselves . . . and the spiritual DNA pattern therein.

Despite widespread belief to the contrary . . . eisegesis is psychologically unavoidable . . . so I recommend actively incorporating it into the reading of the bible . . . NOT using our own views . . . BUT substituting our clear knowledge of the character of Jesus . . . the true nature of our God . . as the perspective we impose on the text. I combine this deliberate eisegesis with the above exegesis and interpretational approach.

The majority of readers, however, should just use the latter eisegesis . . . using Jesus's two commands as the filter they impose on the reading . . . love God and love each other. If you cannot imagine Jesus doing, saying, thinking, needing, wanting or being responsible for whatever seems to be in a simple reading of the literal descriptions . . . then the simple reading is wrong . . . and it has a more spiritual interpretation. Eliminate ALL attributions to God of ANY of the negative human emotions or motives, period.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:57 PM
 
1,897 posts, read 3,037,747 times
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
To the extent that you avail yourself of the available knowledge about authorship, historical context, audience (including likely psychological composition of their minds and socio-cultural gestalts) expectations in following the Christ, goals and objectives, etc.etc. then your approach will be superior to a simple literal reading . . . but it is still carnal and is subject to the prior misunderstandings of the primitives of the day that Jesus came to correct. The prime directive so to speak is that the bible is neither a history book nor an anthroplogical tome . . . as those features are ancillary to the spiritual purpose of the recordings. For that reason, I add two additional parameters to the preceding in my interpretations.

One is that the guidance is spiritual and concerns spiritual development of our souls to prepare for the next stage . . . NOT carnal. So gleaning the spiritual message for its impact on our "state of mind" is paramount.

Two is that any prophesies are the result of a spiritual DNA or template built-in to the evolution of our brain chronicling the path our species spiritual evolution will take and the events that will accompany it . . . NOT specific carnal events in a specific temporal context . . . except for the order. The lack of temporal specificity means the sequences are not for use in seeing the future (specifically enjoined) and are only to be seen in retrospect as they confirm the validity of the scriptures themselves . . . and the spiritual DNA pattern therein.

Despite widespread belief to the contrary . . . eisegesis is psychologically unavoidable . . . so I recommend actively incorporating it into the reading of the bible . . . NOT using our own views . . . BUT substituting our clear knowledge of the character of Jesus . . . the true nature of our God . . as the perspective we impose on the text. I combine this deliberate eisegesis with the above exegesis and interpretational approach.

The majority of readers, however, should just use the latter eisegesis . . . using Jesus's two commands as the filter they impose on the reading . . . love God and love each other. If you cannot imagine Jesus doing, saying, thinking, needing, wanting or being responsible for whatever seems to be in a simple reading of the literal descriptions . . . then the simple reading is wrong . . . and it has a more spiritual interpretation. Eliminate ALL attributions to God of ANY of the negative human emotions or motives, period.
MysticPhD: Thanks for your thoughts. Are you saying that most Christians should not study biblical passages by first of all considering such things as authorship, historical setting (sitz im leben), audience relevance, word studies, and cultural influences? Are not these things essential to a proper understanding? Is it not the ignoring of such things that leads to the unacceptable abundance of different interpretations? There is one interpretation (whether we find it or not), but many applications. Proper applications come from proper exegesis.

In the case of eschatology, for example, when people ignore the historical setting and audience relevance of biblical passages, they are likely to make improper applications. The simple "you" of direct address to the audience to whom the words were written or spoken is wrongly applied to us. The same is true of "we." In other words, "we" become the "ye" and the "we" of passages whose content was never intended to apply directly to us! Also, student's using improper eisegesis (reading one's eschatological system into a particular passage), often ignore or redefine simple words such as "near" and "soon"--not because the text requires them to do so because their system requires it!

The fact remains that far too many students of the Scriptures do not know how to study them or are too lazy to study them. It is easier to read books about the Bible than to read the Bible itself.

Thanks for the responses!

Preterist
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:40 PM
 
37,587 posts, read 25,288,180 times
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Originally Posted by Preterist View Post
MysticPhD: Thanks for your thoughts. Are you saying that most Christians should not study biblical passages by first of all considering such things as authorship, historical setting (sitz im leben), audience relevance, word studies, and cultural influences? Are not these things essential to a proper understanding? Is it not the ignoring of such things that leads to the unacceptable abundance of different interpretations? There is one interpretation (whether we find it or not), but many applications. Proper applications come from proper exegesis.
I do not disagree. The ONLY way to interpret is to understand those things and much more . . . unless you are simply reading to reinforce the "hope" that is the real purpose of scipture for the masses. Romans 15:4 (King James Version)

4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

In the latter case . . . it should only be read through the filter of a clear understanding of Jesus's unambiguous example and commands . . . love God and love each other. For the layperson . . . if it doesn't sound like Jesus would say, do, want, require, expect, demand reject . . . whatever . . . than it is the wrong meaning. If it employs or exhibits ANY of the negative human emotions or motives (which psychology has shown are ALL corruptions of our higher spiritual aspirations by our animal nature) . . . than it cannot refer to God or God's motives (God has no corrupt animal nature).
Quote:
In the case of eschatology, for example, when people ignore the historical setting and audience relevance of biblical passages, they are likely to make improper applications. The simple "you" of direct address to the audience to whom the words were written or spoken is wrongly applied to us. The same is true of "we." In other words, "we" become the "ye" and the "we" of passages whose content was never intended to apply directly to us! Also, student's using improper eisegesis (reading one's eschatological system into a particular passage), often ignore or redefine simple words such as "near" and "soon"--not because the text requires them to do so because their system requires it!
Eschatology is "a bucket of worms" spiritually . . . and it has limited relevance to the development of our spiritual maturity during this life . . . amazing how much time and effort is devoted to it. Nevertheless . . . as I have pointed out to you elsewhere . . . delimiting prophesy temporally is a mixed bag. It undermines the very idea that creates and supports the rationale for the very existence of Jesus and His significance . . . and it eliminates the millennia-long scriptural validation of His authenticity (which is far more impressive and confirming than any contemporaneous validations.) Just saying.

Be well,
Mystic
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:58 PM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,088 posts, read 12,715,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
To the extent that you avail yourself of the available knowledge about authorship, historical context, audience (including likely psychological composition of their minds and socio-cultural gestalts) expectations in following the Christ, goals and objectives, etc.etc. then your approach will be superior to a simple literal reading . . . but it is still carnal and is subject to the prior misunderstandings of the primitives of the day that Jesus came to correct. The prime directive so to speak is that the bible is neither a history book nor an anthroplogical tome . . . as those features are ancillary to the spiritual purpose of the recordings. For that reason, I add two additional parameters to the preceding in my interpretations.

One is that the guidance is spiritual and concerns spiritual development of our souls to prepare for the next stage . . . NOT carnal. So gleaning the spiritual message for its impact on our "state of mind" is paramount.

Two is that any prophesies are the result of a spiritual DNA or template built-in to the evolution of our brain chronicling the path our species spiritual evolution will take and the events that will accompany it . . . NOT specific carnal events in a specific temporal context . . . except for the order. The lack of temporal specificity means the sequences are not for use in seeing the future (specifically enjoined) and are only to be seen in retrospect as they confirm the validity of the scriptures themselves . . . and the spiritual DNA pattern therein.

Despite widespread belief to the contrary . . . eisegesis is psychologically unavoidable . . . so I recommend actively incorporating it into the reading of the bible . . . NOT using our own views . . . BUT substituting our clear knowledge of the character of Jesus . . . the true nature of our God . . as the perspective we impose on the text. I combine this deliberate eisegesis with the above exegesis and interpretational approach.

The majority of readers, however, should just use the latter eisegesis . . . using Jesus's two commands as the filter they impose on the reading . . . love God and love each other. If you cannot imagine Jesus doing, saying, thinking, needing, wanting or being responsible for whatever seems to be in a simple reading of the literal descriptions . . . then the simple reading is wrong . . . and it has a more spiritual interpretation. Eliminate ALL attributions to God of ANY of the negative human emotions or motives, period.
Dang Bubba, sometimes you make good sense!!! And I am certainly not a christer, but I appreciate your approach.
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