How can we best understand the Bible when it was written in a culture so far removed from our own?

“Truth by definition is exclusive and cannot be inclusive- it destroys the very idea of truth and meaning. “

My thoughts as well. Eliminate the what if’s. What if’s are philosophical pondering, or creative theorizing in my belief. It in no way identifies “the truth” as it is stated in the writing. Take it for what it is, and don’t over analyze it to death. It says what it means. But to also understand the way the writer, writes, from looking at their other works, helps understand the inflection and tone of their speech. I also found that truly understanding the culture at that time it is written , helped me to understand not only the way the writer would intend it, but how he would write it to the culture of the audience, that he intended it for.

Make sense? I hope I communicated that well.

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Hi Travis,
Yes, you have articulated your point very well. To understand the culture in which the Bible was written, the literary genre of the book, why it was written to whom it was written- These are all helpful parameters to understand clearly what the Word of God says.
But we should also note that the Bible was written for us too. It’s a living word. Active when we encounter it. Sometimes we who like to look into the background and culture and genre might get too carried away by critically analyzing these things that we miss the prompting of the Spirit when we are encountering Gods word.
Both aspects are needed and need to be held together well. I guess I am speaking mostly to myself as I am looking into what you wrote. Thank you for your insights Travis.