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 an utmost priority,” “Be committed,” would all be ways to render the connotation of the word in the original.
So, then, are you intense about studying God’s Word? Are making the study of the “word of truth” your #1 priority? If not, it’s time to reassess. Oh, you say, you’d love to, but you don’t know where to start? Now we’re talking! I’d be glad to recommend some resources, whether you’re just getting started or want to grow in your ability to interpret Scripture. Here, then, are several resources that are designed for the sole purpose of helping serious students of the Word grow in their ability to interpret any genre of the Bible, so that they will show themselves approved, accurately handling the word of truth.
(1) Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011).
Bible scholars Andreas Köstenberger (NT) and Richard Patterson (OT) provide seminarians and upper-level collegians a textbook utilizing the “hermeneutical triad” method. This approach to interpretation is based on giving due consideration to both the historical setting and the literary context, as well the theological message. Working through the major genres of Scripture and showing how their method applies to each one, they provide interpretive examples to guide the student in proper exegesis. In addition to the examples, each chapter concludes with exercises and assignments. Also included is a helpful “Building a Biblical Studies Library” appendix.
(2) Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, For the Love of God’s Word (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015).
For the Love of God’s Word is an abridged, less technical version of Köstenberger and Patterson’s acclaimed Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. Students, teachers, and pastors alike will find this introduction to biblical hermeneutics to be an accessible resource with both breadth and substance.
Built on the premise that every passage requires careful scrutiny of its historical setting, literary dimension, and theological message, this volume teaches a simple threefold method that is applicable to every passage of Scripture regardless of genre. In addition, the book sets forth specific strategies for interpreting the various genres of Scripture, from poetry to epistle to prophecy. A final chapter is devoted to helpful Bible study resources that will equip the reader to apply Scripture to life.
This book will serve as a standard text for interpreting Scripture that is both academically responsible and accessible for pastors, teachers, and college students. This volume will enable students of Scripture to grow in love for God’s Word as they grow in the disciplines of study and discernment.
(3) Richard Alan Fuhr Jr. and Andreas J. Köstenberger, Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology (Nashville: B&H Academic, November 2016).
This text provides a step-by-step approach to Bible study based on a three-part interpretive framework: observation, interpretation, and application. Building on the premise that the Bible is historical, literary, and theological, Köstenberger and Fuhr walk the reader through all of the steps necessary to accurately interpret and apply the Bible.
(4) Keyed to Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, these PowerPoints also include hermeneutics-related cartoons:
(5) Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Twelve Rules for Understanding Biblical Words.
If you are a teacher, you may contact Laura Bartlett (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further teaching resources. As you devote yourself to the serious study of God’s word, we pray that you’ll be inspired, empowered, and transformed and better equipped to live your life for Him and His glory!