Question about Scriptural Interpretation

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Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
4,025
1,245
113
#1
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
 

MadHermit

Junior Member
May 8, 2018
388
145
43
#2
Your second question illustrates "the unpardonable sin" of biblical exegesis from a modern scholarly interpretive perspective because believers who take that approach tend to force their own doctrinal bias into a text to make it fit their preconceived notions. I used to regularly attend the meetings of the top academic biblical convention in the world, the Society of Biblical Literature. I recall a round table on 1 Corinthians for which the participating scholars agreed not to allow their interpretations of specific texts tp be informed by Paul's other epistles. This wise agreement was intended to allow Paul to change his mind and evolve over the years. More importantly, it was intended to see whether and to what extent different insights might be gleaned if the bias of parallel texts from other epistles was provisionally kept out of the picture.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
20,805
11,413
113
#3
Really, we do both. As new believers, we probably start with some sort of summary of scriptural truth such as a creed. As we learn the Word for ourselves, we look more closely at individual passages and re-evaluate the summary truth in light of them. It's a constant back-and-forth process.

Hopefully we get to a place where the overall truth is consistent with the individual truths. I suspect none of us get there until after death though. :)
 

ForestGreenCook

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
5,598
873
113
#4
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
I believe that all scriptures from the original scrolls were inspired by God and all scriptures must be considered and harmonize if we are to find the true doctrine that Jesus taught.
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
4,025
1,245
113
#5
Really, we do both. As new believers, we probably start with some sort of summary of scriptural truth such as a creed. As we learn the Word for ourselves, we look more closely at individual passages and re-evaluate the summary truth in light of them. It's a constant back-and-forth process.

Hopefully we get to a place where the overall truth is consistent with the individual truths. I suspect none of us get there until after death though. :)
Thanks for the response: this is what I want to hear and have input on.

You said "we probably start with a summary of scriptural truth such as a creed". I might also have asked my question that way: With which approach should we start?

It seems you are saying the way it is usually done, but is this the correct (or best) way to do it?
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
20,805
11,413
113
#6
Thanks for the response: this is what I want to hear and have input on.

You said "we probably start with a summary of scriptural truth such as a creed". I might also have asked my question that way: With which approach should we start?

It seems you are saying the way it is usually done, but is this the correct (or best) way to do it?
I believe it is the best way. It's very easy to get an unbalanced view of an issue by studying deeply without having a broad general understanding. It's also the way most courses are taught, in any subject: overview first, then detail.

I suppose that if someone leaned heavily on the Holy Spirit as they studied, they would remain balanced. However, how would they know to do so unless someone taught them? Few of us come to the Scriptures the first time with no prior biases and a humble, receptive heart.
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
246
104
28
#7
It's probably best to just ask one of us prophets if you're unsure of the divine will and purpose.

That's what we're here for...
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
4,025
1,245
113
#8
It's probably best to just ask one of us prophets if you're unsure of the divine will and purpose.

That's what we're here for...
Please, please, do not make me laugh so hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Chester

Senior Member
May 23, 2016
4,025
1,245
113
#9
I believe it is the best way. It's very easy to get an unbalanced view of an issue by studying deeply without having a broad general understanding. It's also the way most courses are taught, in any subject: overview first, then detail.

I suppose that if someone leaned heavily on the Holy Spirit as they studied, they would remain balanced. However, how would they know to do so unless someone taught them? Few of us come to the Scriptures the first time with no prior biases and a humble, receptive heart.
Some real wisdom in your answer, I think . . .

But how in the world (or from where?) does a person get a "broad general understanding" of the Bible.
 

AxeElf

Active member
Mar 5, 2019
246
104
28
#10
Please, please, do not make me laugh so hard!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was Paul's joke originally...

"To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues." --1 Corinthians 12:10 (Amplified Bible)
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
20,805
11,413
113
#11
Some real wisdom in your answer, I think . . .

But how in the world (or from where?) does a person get a "broad general understanding" of the Bible.
Excellent question! Of course, I recommend reading the whole thing... at least once. If a person commits to doing that and not giving up in frustration or confusion, they will probably have the basics down.

For us mortals, a course for new believers such as Alpha is a good place to start, or perhaps a book aimed at first-time readers of the Bible. I began by reading a Gideons New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs... probably a better place to start than Numbers or Chronicles. ;)
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
18,267
9,293
113
#12
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
Unless you have studied the Bible and seen the specific doctrine in many passages, you cannot rightly interpret a particular text.

Let's take an example (Ephesians 2:8): For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...

Calvinists will vociferously insist that "the gift of God" in this text is "faith". But the rest of the New Testament will teach you that it is "salvation" which is the gift of God.

ROMANS 5
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace,which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (see Romans 6:23)
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
 

memyselfi

Junior Member
Jan 12, 2017
503
260
63
#13
This is great question. I read my Hebrew Bible for the OT... do not believe the commentary but look that up in Mathew Hennery Commentary…. I am in love with a 400 year old dead man...lol...
I read Aramaic New Testament... Confirmed by Bruce and Hennery… I do not read King Jimmy, even with a college degree, I do not understand King Jimmy. I took Hebrew and Greek in college and still do not understand King Jimmy... Living Bible or NIV is the best! My opinion....
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
19,803
5,494
113
#14
We only learn truth by th e understanding given by the Holy Spirit……. Read the Word as led to read.
 

Angela53510

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2011
11,535
2,704
113
#15
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
Exegesis is the proper way to do Bible interpretation! "Ex" in Greek means "out" or "out of!" . We come to the Bible and listen to what it tells us. Not just a verse, or a passage, although we can focus on it. Good interpretation requires we understand and know the whole Bible. We try and take "out" of the Bible what it says.

And I have to disagree with Dino, here. Yes, read the Bible from cover to cover. Three chapters from the OT and 1 of the NT gets you through the Bible in a year. Then read it over, yearly, for the rest of your life. I'm in Leviticus right now. I used to find it so dry and boring. Now, I am learning so much in it. Leviticus doesn't just happen in the first or 10th reading. But 50th? Wow! What an amazing book!

Eisegesis! From "eis" in Greek Meaning "in" or "into." So, reading into the Bible what you want it to say! Your second definition really sums up the evil that is Eisegesis!

"One uses overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text." Never do this. It is overlaying your ideas, or some theologian's ideas on the Bible.

Please take a course in Bible Hermeneutics. My last pastor told me it is the most important course he took for his MTh.
 

obedienttogod

Well-known member
Jan 3, 2019
1,012
342
83
#16
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?


Technically, we do both of what you have suggested plus do research on things relating to the topic. But the real answer comes, when the Holy Spirit opens the scripture up like you have never remembered seeing or reading before. It's a new flow to the sentence structure, plus it's a new insight to a deeper meaning than ever before. It not only puts the verses before and after in a more enlightening view, but even ties other scripture throughout the Bible.


In my opinion, much like in Science, we search for truths. We finally get a glimpse of the big picture and begin creating our Theory. Then we test it. And when we see it has been confirmed (even not confirmed), we store it as a truth. The Holy Spirit then gives us that comforting notion that we have an absolute truth, based upon God's Viewpoint!!
 

PS

Senior Member
Jan 11, 2013
5,399
693
113
#17
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
The apostle Paul debates both sides of the argument from the perspective of the Jews and the the Gentiles, and then he will arrive at the conclusion. People usually choose the side they prefer which may not tally with his conclusion. So read the whole chapter to get a grasp of his argument and pay particular attention to his conclusion. The next step is to be prepared to be flexible and accept it, even if it conflicts with what you previously thought.

When I first started with Bible study, it might have been about 'trust' for example or 'faith' I would look up all the scripture references given in the margin of my Bible and write them down, then I had a whole view of the subject. Now I use esword which is free and a great help. :)
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
16,450
5,575
113
#18
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
Um..neither.
Or maybe the first one. Depends what you mean by 'overall' I take it you not talking about clothes.

For example, you want to find out what doctrine or theology Paul explained to the romans (gentiles) you would read the letter to Romans. I mean that letter is packed with basic theology that the romans, who didnt even know God, could understand...and Paul hadnt even been to Rome yet. Thats why he was explaining it all before he even set foot there, in a letter. Basic.

The letter to Hebrews, well that was written so the Hebrews could understand theology, why Jesus came, what he did, what his sacrifice meant. These hebrews of course already knew God, they'd read the prophets. They knew how the law worked. So it was basic understsnding for them based on what God had already revealed so far.

The other letters to churches were to specific churches dealing with their own issues of how to worship together as a church, how to live a christian life, how to get along. Not doctrine as such.
 

Mission21

Pathfinder
Mar 12, 2019
678
653
93
#19
It's probably best to just ask one of us prophets if you're unsure of the divine will and purpose.

That's what we're here for...
Good sense of humor..
It's probably best to just ask one of us prophets if you're unsure of the divine will and purpose.

That's what we're here for...
Good sense of humor..
- Which one to ask ?
- It seems that there are many of them!!
LOL
 

Adstar

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2016
6,813
3,117
113
#20
Which is best, or which is correct?

Does one study a particular text to determine what is overall Biblical doctrine?
OR
Does one use overall Biblical doctrine to determine the meaning of a particular text?
Doctrine should only be affirmed when it is supported by the overall message of the Bible..

Too many people establish a doctrine by just one verse of scripture interpreted in isolation without taking into account the full message of the entire Bible on the matter.