One's own interpretation

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Good thing this is Baptist only. Roman Catholics would have a field day with this.

    But, the thread I posted this question in was too long and needed to close. So...I posed this question to webdog:

     
  2. swaimj

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    Truth is absolute, unchanging, and infinite. We humans are vacillating, often self-deceived, and finite, so we can NEVER know with absolute certainty that we have understood truth.

    That is why we are to be "fully persuaded in our own mind" regarding what we believe, but humble and always ready and willing to learn.

    It is why my greatest responsibility as a Christian is not to know everything, but to love my God, love my neighbor, love my brother, and love my enemy.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Great question. As I'm sure you're aware using proper hermeneutical principles is the foundation of understanding how to arrive at a sound interpretation.

    One thing that I've learned in my time is that really we can be certain of a sound interpretation through several classifying criteria upfront:

    1. The character of the interpretter. If the person has a sin issue, or has questionable character in relationship to Christ (being saved is the first major thign) than their interpretation shouldn't be trusted.

    2. It is in line with accepted orthodoxy. The major components of Christianity that have been faithfully handed down since the early church are important here. Also if the interprettor doesn't accept them than they have a highly suspect interpretation.

    3. It is in line with the context. You can't just make something up that isn't there. Also you can't add to something that isn't there. This is how we get paintings with a white Jesus with sandy-blonde hair and blue eyes. There are reasonable limits for interpretation.

    Lest we forget the Holy Spirit's role in illuminating the text is vital to our role as interpretors.

    Other than that I would recommend studying basic hermeneutics to seeing the key for unlocking the Scriptures. :thumbs:
     
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    Does anyone know of a place in Scripture where a hermeneutical method is applied? Or more than one?

    THe reason I ask is it does appear to me that we must choose some form of hermy (gonna call it hermy for short) and I would like Scripture to be my guide in that regard. One's hermy really affects how they understand the whole of Scripture.
     
  5. Carico

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    It's very easy. First you need to know that the words in the bible come from God, not man. Then you do not add or subtract from them, change them or erase them altogether.

    Thus, verses like 54;16m "For I the Lord have created the destroyer to work havoc..." means, "For I, the Lord have created the destroyer to work havoc..." Notice that my "interpretation" and God's words are one and the same. And that's how you read the whole bible. :thumbs:

    So the problem isn't understanding the bible, it's believing the bible because the words in the bible are composed of simple words that we all learned in elementary school.
     
    #5 Carico, Sep 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2009
  6. swaimj

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    No, Carico, the Bible is composed of words in foreign languages that few Christians know.

    There are simple concepts that the Bible sets forth that even a child can understand, but there are also difficult concepts that theologians have struggled with for years.

    Even the apostle Peter, having read Paul's letters, states that there are concepts in them that are difficult to understand.
     
  7. Tom Bryant

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    I think there are a couple of steps.

    You have to study the entire Bible and the verses in particular in context. It won't contradict itself, so find other verses that may touch on the ideas that are in question.

    Then you also need to get the input of other Bible believers. The idea that 2,000 years after the Bible was finished that I can come up with something no one esle has ever seen is pretty silly. So check out commentators and your own church leaders.

    Then you must pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal any faulty reasoning or interpretation to you.
     
  8. Carico

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    Sorry, but God translated them for us. He is just as present in translations as he was in the original authors. ;) But by your reasoning, then only those who live in countries where Hebrew or Greek are spoken can be saved. :rolleyes: Wrong. God showed us at pentecost that he can communicate himself in any language even without the written word! "Ye of little faith."

    But if you don't understand the bible in English, then of course, you can't worship a God you don't understand. So there's no point in discussing a bible with people who admit they don't understand it. Inf act, the "original language" excuse is what people use to try to make the bible say whatever they want it to say. So I'm going elsewhere.
     
    #8 Carico, Sep 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2009
  9. swaimj

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    No He did not.
    Please give us a simple scripture that states this. Otherwise, this is merely your theory and opinion and it is incorrect.
    Then why do you put so much emphasis on the Bible being the truth if we are not restricted to it in understanding God?
    I do understand it, but I do not claim to understand it perfectly, as you are claiming. And I think that you are demonstrating that your understanding is quite faulty because rather than being based upon simple statements, as you claim, it is based upon pre-suppositions that are not held by most members of the BB.
    This is untrue.
    Toodles, and do us a favor, don't change your mind!
     
  10. DHK

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    If what you say is true:
    Why, in different places in the Bible, do so many translations differ one from an other?
    Why aren't all Bibles translated the same?
    Why in the Versions Forum is there so much contention if all translations were the same? You need to read some of those threads.

    What does a verse like Phil. 3:20 mean, when it says "our conversation is in heaven," when neither our dialog with each other or our behavior is in heaven, but on earth. What did the KJV translators have in mind when they said that? Why do all other translations disagree with that translation?
     
  11. Crabtownboy

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    A person cannot read without interpreting. A person's understanding of a word determins what that person thinks is being said.
     
  12. ktn4eg

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    While I am by no means a Greek scholar, the word "conversation" in this passage means "citizenship." Looking this up in Strong's you'll find that this word is politeuma in Greek (#4175). As best I can tell, this is the only time that the KJV translates that particular Greek word "conversation."

    Most of the other times where the KJV uses "conversation," it was the Greek word anastropes (#391) which does mean [as you pointed out] "behavior."

    Hopefully some of our resident BB Greek scholars can shed more light on this.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    Well just check out Christ's teaching style, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is full of hermeneutics and exegesis presented in a narrative fashion.

    You actually can see the Jewish practice of hermeneutics throughout the New Testament. The formative thinker in this regard was a man named Hillel and his rules on midrash (the Jewish concept of hermeneutics) shaped most of the New Testament use of the Old Testament.

    Some specific examples include:
    Luke 12:24
    John 10:34-36
    Luke 6:1-5
    Luke 20:37-38
    Matthew 19:4-8

    As for the second part of your quote above I would challenge you that most good, evangelical books on hermeneutics have been formed through an honest, biblically centered approach to the text. Now if you deviate (which I don't think you would) into more mainline thought that can go away. Most evangelical theologians who specialize in hermeneutics will always use the text of the Scriptures to speak to method...not the other way around. :)
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    I'm not near my tools right now but the NET translates the verse:

    3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

    honestly the Greek only gets you about halfway there in interpretation. If it answered all the questions there wouldn't be any theological camps...just one view. We all know that isn't it. Good interpretters are great scholars and just as great theologians. :)
     
  15. ktn4eg

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    You're right about that. Among other things, you still have to correctly understand the context.
     
  16. DHK

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    Yes it does mean citizenship, as almost any other translation will translate it. But if Carico holds to his position of not having to use Greek or Hebrew, or even other translations, how would he ever come to find this out?
     
  17. Crabtownboy

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    Oh my, if you use Greek and Hebrew and find out what the word really means, well, gee whiz, you might have to change a long held, long loved opinion.

    Reading will do that also.
     
  18. DHK

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    Will it? There is not a single other time in the NT where the word "conversation" is translated "citizenship," as it should be in that verse. To get the proper meaning of that verse one must go to an outside source. The word was wrongly translated by the KJV translated as in every other case they consistently translated "conversation" as meaning "behavior," or "manner of life," not "citizenship."
     
  19. kyredneck

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    The right of private judgment

    How do you know if you got it right? IME, when the spirit teaches it comes in like a flood and it will blow you away. It makes the heart happy like nothing else will.

    Over the years I've grown to appreciate Charles Hodge's three simple rules of interpretation:

    1. The Scriptures are to be taken in the sense attached to them in the age and by the people to whom they were addressed.

    2. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

    3. The Scriptures are to be interpreted under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which guidance is to be humbly and earnestly sought.

    The right of private judgment was a driving force in the reformation. Here's what Hodge had to say to to Pius IX, Bishop of Rome on the subject:


    This statement is just as true today as it was then:

     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    Thanks brother, that is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for.
     

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