A question of theology

(Kelvin Bottle) #1

With so many different view points on scripture and how it is interpreted, how can we be sure that our view is right?

With the growth of progressive theology and revisionist theology how can we be sure? What are the belts and braces that we should employ?

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(Keldon Scott) #2

You may find this thread very helpful. I hope your search is fruitful and the Holy Spirit enables understanding and peace.

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(SeanO) #3

@Kelvin77 I think there are 2 simple principles to apply here:

  1. most of what the Bible says is not hard to understand if our goal is to understand its meaning to the original audience
  2. the parts that are hard to understand are not central to Christian orthodoxy (such as the end times) and it is okay to disagree

In terms of belts and braces, I would say the following:

  • our goal in interpreting the Bible is to understand what the text meant to its original audience - we can figure that out by understanding the language and the culture - this is called the historical grammatical method of Bible interpretation. Some of these modern distortions of Scripture you mentioned use other methods of Bible interpretation that are not concerned with what the text actually says, but rather what they want it to say.
  • we should compare our teaching against the historical Churches teaching - if we are departing from orthodoxy (such as Nicene Creed) or views agreed upon for the last 2 thousand years, we should ask “why?” and express a fair degree of skepticism
  • we should let Scripture interpret Scripture - if Jesus interpreted the OT in a certain way, we follow His interpretation

I really like Fee’s book on interpreting the Bible. It’s a layman’s guide to properly interpreting the Bible.

Below are some additional resources. Hope that was helpful :slight_smile:

One last thought. We’ll admit that some passages in the Bible are difficult to understand. What’s more, we realize that, down through the centuries, these sections have spawned a lot of controversy and disagreement. We don’t, however, believe that this negates anything we’ve been saying here. We may not be able to understand everything about the Bible; that doesn’t mean that we can’t understand anything about it.

We must also point out that it is simply false to claim that no one can know the correct interpretation of a passage of the Bible. If in principle such accurate understanding cannot be achieved, then there would be no basis upon which to conclude that any given interpretation was not correct. In the study of logic, this is called the fallacy of a lost distinction : if there is no correct interpretation, then there is no standard by which to distinguish any given interpretation from the “correct” one. If it is true that “it’s not possible to have a correct interpretation,” then what does that statement itself mean? If someone makes that statement to you, just ask him, “What do you mean by that?” He certainly expects you to correctly interpret his objection. The simple fact of the matter is, it is possible to have a correct interpretation, and anyone who says it is not possible is making a self-defeating claim.

https://www.equip.org/articles/how-to-interpret-your-bible-correctly-part-1/

Knowing how to interpret Scripture correctly, therefore, is as important as knowing that the Bible is true. And since the Bible was written by authors with specific intents, the way to determine a text’s meaning is to discern the original author’s intent for it. To do this, we employ the grammatical-historical method, which examines the writer’s historical context and the text’s grammatical structure. We treat verbs as verbs and nouns and nouns, for while the Bible is God’s Word, it is written according to normal grammatical conventions, not in some esoteric tongue. Moreover, we look at the historical setting of a text so that we can discern the issues the author is addressing. Such things help us get into the mind of the author so that we can know what he means.

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Studying the Bible
(Kelvin Bottle) #4

Thanks for these replys. I feel like I am on the right track in my understanding and have ask myself what is the original historical context, looking to past history understanding before applying this and looking for scripture to interpret scripture. agree that the core points are clear and that the truth is authoritive.

I see more and more the argument based on viewing scripture only from a current cultural perspective that disregards historical context. It is effectively twistinging scripture to mean something different or proof texting with a single verse taken out of context.

I do have Gordon fees book i have the 3rd edition of it. A great read. Also I found the following to be helpful.

This really helps in understanding the Bible in the context of honour/shame.

I’ve also got but not yet had a chance to read:

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(SeanO) #5

@Kelvin77 I agree - once we actually consider the historical context and make a sincere effort to understand, it is generally not that difficult to have a good understanding of what is being communicated. What is generating so many alternate interpretations is that people are approaching the text with a preexisting agenda rather than allowing the Scripture to speak.

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(Jimmy Sellers) #6

Sean can you give a few examples of this?

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(Kelvin Bottle) #7

A couple of articles one from a progressive Christian perspective. Which has effectively removed the need for God.

https://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/blog/post/making_god_necessary_a_post_theism_view

Another which looks at the some of the dangers and shows the thinking.

Third article looks at and shows that progressive Christianity is more a kin to a rebrand of liberal ciews. Point one in the list is eye opening as is the rest of the list.

A final one from the gospel coalition again which highlights some of the key points.

To call what they believe Christian seems wrong and reads more akin to a sect.

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(Kelvin Bottle) #8

It looks more like a spiritualised humanism

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(SeanO) #9

@Jimmy_Sellers Sure, for example:

  • a historical example - slavery - people used the texts about slaves obeying their masters to justify the gross injustice of antebellum slavery and oppression - they did not let the text condemn their injustice by recognizing the difference between classical / modern slavery and the redemptive direction Paul was taking the society by giving dignity / worth to all people

  • more modern example - alternative sexual practices - if we actually read the text it is very clear that the Bible uniformly declares sexual activity outside marriage between a man and woman to be outside of God’s plan / purpose for humanity. However, people approach the text with the assumption that these alternative sexual practices are good and find a way to justify their own view rather than letting Scripture speak by taking advantage of the fact the Bible had little need to constantly condemn what was uniformly considered wrong within the context of the authors.

  • the uniqueness of Jesus - Jesus claimed to be the one and only way to God - that is clear if we read what He taught. But people who bring universalism to the text simply reject those Scriptures they do not like - which suggest exclusivity - and take the ones they like - they have a pick and choose hermeneutic.

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(Kelvin Bottle) #10

Another interesting article. Again showing that progressive ideology places love as the highest priority and deminishes biblical authority. It pretty much reflects some of my current conversations in that if you challenge them they go either love is love, say you are wrong, who are you to judge me, the Bible doesn’t really mean that.

In understanding what is going on this and other articles give a good primer as to what is going on.

Certainly a challenge in our evangelism especially when they can be so militant about the views that they hold to be true. The idea of absolute or objective truth has been replaced with a subjective truth and an image of God that is made in our image.

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(Jimmy Sellers) #11

Here are a few books to add to your studies.
This is a must read in my opinion…

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(Kelvin Bottle) #12

Jesus through middle Eastern eyes is an excellent read.i read it a couple of years back and have been looking back over this book not so long ago. Thanks for the other recommendations as well.