In 2 Timothy 2:15, the apostle Paul writes to young Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved, handling accurately the word of truth.” Other translations vary, rendering the Greek term underlying “Study” as “Be diligent” or the like. However, in the original Greek, the force of the expression conveys great urgency. Used literally, the word means “Hurry!” as when Paul tells Timothy later in the letter to hurry to come to him before winter. Thus the apostle conveyed a great sense of urgency and intensity when calling on Timothy to study God’s word. “Be intense,” “Make it... Read More
My years as a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School were certainly a very mind-stretching experience. I took classes with D. A. Carson on the use of the OT in the NT, with Doug Moo on the Second Temple period and on the Septuagint, with Grant Osborne on apocalyptic literature, and many more. In these classes, I came to realize that many issues in NT studies are considerably more complex than the average person realizes. In fact, becoming aware of some of these issues can be confusing, even disorienting, and can leave people bewildered, unless they have the necessary scholarly... Read More
In my presentation today, I’ll introduce you to a set of new hermeneutical lenses I call “the hermeneutical triad”—history, literature, and theology. This hermeneutical triad forms the backbone of Dick Patterson’s and my new hermeneutics text, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. What is the “hermeneutical triad”? In short, our core proposal is this: for any passage of Scripture, regardless of genre, you’ll want to study the historical setting, the literary context, and the theological message. Thus the hermeneutical triad consists of history, literature, and theology. As... Read More
So you have followed the first two steps in interpretation, “Observation” and “Interpretation.” You have sought to determine what the text “meant” in its original context, to its original readers, as intended by the original author, exploring what some call the “first horizon” of biblical interpretation. You have studied difficult words, outlined your passage as part of your thought flow analysis, and looked at historical-cultural background issues.
You have approached the task of interpretation prayerfully and laid aside your own presuppositions (by an act some call... Read More
There are some purists who hold to a form of textual autonomy according to which only the text is relevant for interpretation and the use of background information is anathematized. Most, however, find the use of background information helpful, and at times even vital, in making sense of a particular biblical passage or entire book.
The case for a judicious use of background information has not been helped by the excesses of those who overplay background, at times to the extent that the explicit message of a given text is set aside in keeping with a supposed piece of relevant background... Read More