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Biblical Hermeneutics - Part 3
Instead of being passive consumers of Biblical commentary, we can participate in the forming of a very particular, but no less authentic, commentary of our own. The only thing that should happen between text and commentary is exegesis, not homiletics. In other words, we should not become reliant on them. Continued dependence on commentaries will handicap or hinder the development of exegetical skills needed to do independent pre-commentary study. This is why it is probably safest to consult more than one commentary and to consult it at the end of the exegetical process and not the beginning.
Biblical studies is never truly complete until we have attempted to reflect in a careful and systematic way upon what we have learned, and in reflecting, make creative and responsible applications to the situation of the church universal today.
Proper hermeneutics then, play a vital role in the evolution of good homiletics. It not only provides the rule whereby an understanding of the text's original context can be obtained, but it permits the context to be trans-culturally applied to modern times.
Sanders' sermons are good examples of sermons prepared in context and reflect skillful exegesis. He utilized the information he learned in study in very thought-provoking, challenging, and creative way. I believe he was successful in bringing the original context to contemporary times and make the truth pertinent to it. I was most impressed and affected by the sermon, "In the Same Night?" (the sermon can be read in it's entirety here: http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=800&C=1048)
The Old Testament narratives are not stories about ancient people who lived in ancient times. Neither are they allegories inundated with hidden meanings. Rather, narratives are stories which teach indirectly and have the intent of making only one major point though many may be derived from them.
Considered to be "genre within genre," the parables history of interpretation goes back to Jesus, the master Teacher, who extensive use of them betrays the fact that they were one of His favorite teaching tools. Parables come in many forms including true stories, similitude, metaphors (and similes) and epigrams. They function in a manner similar to a joke in that they seek to elicit a response.
The goal of parabolic interpretation is to "catch what the original hearers caught" To accomplish this, we must interpret to determine exactly what the original hearers received and how they responded to it. Having done this, we must decide how to go about reformulating the material in such a way that our present audience can be the recipients of what the original audience obtained.
The exegetical interpretative process begins by locating the reference points and proceeds to identify the audience. Since parables are used to clarify and emphasize a central truth that was being discussed in a particular historical situation, a thorough examination of the parable in its immediate context is also necessary for understanding its meaning.
In general, before interpretation of prophecy, epistles, apocalyptic literature and other unique literary forms can begin; several theoretical, theological and practical issues must be confronted. The basic question we must ask ourselves is whether the literature under consideration can be interpreted using the same hermeneutical principles that apply to other genres, or whether some special hermeneutical method is required.
Exegesis is a discipline which teaches us to defer judgment until sufficient data have been collected. It teaches us to treat text with great care and respect.
Thus, our approach to Scripture is with an ear attuned and a mind open to what the text has to say before leaping in with a response. We recognize the need for approaching Scripture contextually; to probe for, collect, sort, discern, and weigh evidence. Perhaps most important of all, we measure what we have learned from our own faith tradition against the realities of our Biblical learning experience; to subject ourselves to the objective authority of the text before we attempt the mastery of it either as sermon, manuscript, teaching or discussion material.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.
Abraham and the Leather Scroll
The Dead Sea Scrolls continue to be found and there are many interesting discoveries about the era and region to be found in them. One of the more interesting aspects of these finds has to do with a leather scroll that was written to seem as if Abraham had been its author.
Knowledge Of The Power
For it is written in Proverbs 1:7 it says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Some may ask, what is knowledge? Well let's see what the Bible says.
The power of the Holy Spirit is so profound it is truly a wonder, beyond human intelligence. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about miracles.
Women in Religion
During the debate in the Episcopal Church over whether or not to allow a homosexual bishop, a woman was presenting the argument against allowing a homosexual bishop. She stated that the Bible declares homosexuality to be wrong, which it does.
Popping the Balloon of Belief
I'm really excited. I just got a bigger soapbox, and I wanted to invite the rest of you to get up here on it with me.
Spirit of Islam: A Primer
Last time I wrote a message on Islam, a Catholic priest said he reported me to the FCC for broadcasting what he referred to as "an eMail hate letter." Several long-time subscribers of various other denominations ALSO gave me a tongue-lashing.
The Gospel According to the Americans - Our Shame
As a deist, Thomas Jefferson may have thought God was indifferent, but gospel twisting preachers and theologians of the day seem to think God is a clown. One preacher appears regularly on television pushing his book entitled?How to be Rich and Have Everything You Ever Wanted.
Anointed versus Talented: Whats the Difference?
Talent is defined as: "Natural endowment or ability of a superior quality". The word talent comes from a Greek word that also tells us about something of great value as described in Matthew 25:15-30.
Amos And Social Justice Part 2
Amos was summoned by God to warn the Northern Kingdom of Israel of its impending doom due to the collapse of justice and the moral and spiritual decline of the nation. It should be understood that Amos did not travel to Israel in the footprints of Elijah and Elisha; working miracles and wonders.
The Basics of the Christian Walk
Now that I am saved, what do I do next? That is a very common question for people who have just recently got saved. I recently read that 50% of all people who get saved drop out within the first year or two.
Moses v. Jesus: Why do Conservative Christians Prefer Moses Commandments to Jesus Beatitudes?
Why are conservative Christians so concerned about displaying the Ten Commandments in public and especially in courtrooms?Conservatives and their lawyers claim that the Ten Commandments are (or, should regain their position) at the heart of American jurisprudence because the Decalogue represents our commitment to Rule of Law. And, they have made these arguments in cases like McCreary County v.
Josephs Life-a Series of Coincidences
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Joseph. If you read and really understand this story, you will see that nothing is coincidental and that all things work according to God's plan.
Freedom of Religion
We were all taught in school that our forefathers left England to escape religious dictatorships. Okay, there was a lot more to it then that, but it was a big enough deal that they made sure it got honorable mention in our rulebook.
Sexual Deviants and the Catholic Church
It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church seems to continue their abuse and molestation of our youth and children. Yet it is not all that surprising, since they are sworn to celibacy and there are known and documented physiological needs of man.
The Rapture, A Coming Event; Part 1
Daniel 2:44-11:35To begin with, what is prophecy? It's the study of future events. There are those who think that the rapture has already taken place, and that Jesus has already set up His kingdom on earth.
Let Her Be Covered Part Two
The framework for the message this morning will consist of a series of questions revolving around this command: "Let her be covered."The first of these questions is: "To whom is this command addressed?"Now that's a very simple question.
Finding Christian Love Online
Finding Christian singles online.One of the many types of singles or dating sites on the Internet are Christian singles where you can meet like minded Christian singles for email, chat or potential marriage.
Jesus as the Rose of Sharon
The words "rose of Sharon" comes out of the Old Testament in the Song of Solomon. The verse reads: "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
Thank Catholic Schools For Faith in Every Student
Their high achievement comes as they spend half the money of Indiana's public schoolsWhile government schools scream about small cuts in their state funding, Catholic schools will celebrate the great work they do with half the per-student spending of their counterparts.This is Catholic Schools Week, when schools nationwide will showcase what they do for millions of children.
Are You Missing What It Takes To Resist Sin?
I don't care how much you go to church or read your bible sometimes no matter how hard you try to resist sinning you end up finding yourself giving in to it anyway.I know first hand because this has happen to me on countless occasions.
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