Archive for the ‘Hermeneutics’ Category

Tim Challies recently posted some thoughts on whether or not doctrinal error is sin.  I found his post to be clear, thoughtful and to the point.  It is worth reading.   You can find it here http://www.challies.com/christian-living/a-captive-conscience.

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Thabiti Anyabwile has posted some helpful thoughts on the proper approach to reading Scripture and the danger of reading the Bible on a solely subjective level.  You can find the article here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2010/02/08/what-it-means-to-me/.

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I came across this blog post by C. Michael Patton on common errors in biblical interpretation.  It is worth reading and reflecting on while studying our Bibles.  You can find it here http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/02/seven-common-fallacies-of-biblical-interpretation/.

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I came across an article by David Nienhuis in the recent issue of Modern Reformation which I have read several times.  In it, he addresses the issue of biblical illiteracy among modern evangelicals, particularly among young evangelicals.  It is a very insightful article.  Having spent several years working with young people in the local church, I can say that I think his assessment is quite accurate.  You can find his article here http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=1110&var3=main&var4=Home.  It is a little long, but it is worth the time to read.

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I recently listened to an exposition of I Samuel 17 given by Derek Prime at the Basics 2002 conference for pastors in which he laid out 10 questions which he asks of the text as he begins his study of Scripture.  I thought these might be worth sharing, so here are the 10 questions…

1)      What do the words actually mean?

2)      What light do other parts of the Bible throw upon this part?

3)      Where and how does the truth declared in this part of Scripture fit into the complete revelation God gives in the Bible?

4)      What does it teach about God?

5)      What does it teach about men and women in their relationship with God?

6)      What relationship do these words have to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ and what light does the gospel as a whole throw upon them?

7)      What experiences do these words outline or explain or try to create or cure?

8)      What was the application of these words or this event to the people at this time?

9)      How do these words apply to us now?

10)   What are told either to believe or to do?

After laying out these questions, he then goes on to show how he answered these questions in light of I Samuel 17, then he preached an excellent sermon on this passage, having put all the pieces together.

If you are interested in listening to this sermon, you can download it here https://store.truthforlife.org/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=13&products_id=263 .

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John MacArthur recently posted on the importance of studying Scripture in search of the inspired meaning of the text rather than in seeking what it means “to me.”  Here is an excerpt…

What does it mean “to me”?

That’s a fashionable concern, judging from the trends in devotional booklets, home Bible study discussions, Sunday-school literature, and most popular preaching.

The question of what Scripture means has taken a back seat to the issue of what it means “to me.”

The difference may seem insignificant at first. Nevertheless, our obsession with the Scripture’s applicability reflects a fundamental weakness. We have adopted practicality as the ultimate judge of the worth of God’s Word. We bury ourselves in passages that overtly relate to daily living, and ignore those that don’t.…”

You can read the rest here http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/pulpit/posts.aspx?ID=4145 .

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I am starting to work my way systematically through Calvin’s Institutes this year along with the Reformation 21 blog folks and I came across a convicting quotation right off the bat… particularly for those who preach and teach on a regular basis…

“Such veneration we ought indeed to entertain for the Word of God, that we ought not to pervert it in the least degree by varying expositions; for its majesty is diminished, I now not how much, especially when not expounded with great discretion and with great sobriety.  And if it be deemed a great wickedness to contaminate any thing that is dedicated to God, he surely cannot be endured, who, with impure, or even with unprepared hands, will handle that very thing, which of all things is the most sacred on earth.  It is therefore an audacity, closely allied to a sacrilege, rashly to turn Scripture in any way we please, and to indulge our fancies as in sport; which has been done by many in former times” (John Calvin, from the Introduction to the 1962 edition of The Institutes of Christian Relgion, translated by Henry Beveridge.)

May God cause us all to be careful students of His inspired Word.


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