Who does the verse speak to?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thegospelgeek, May 4, 2010.

  1. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    I understand context and the fact that it is important to determine who is being spoken to in a passage of scripture. One can not prpoerly interept and aply the scripture without understanding this. I think I do a fairly adequate job in doing this. However I have a simple question, that to be honest with you, I do not know the answer to. I am not looking for a debat but I am sure there may be some, I am looking to learn.

    How do I know who a passage applies to? Some cases are easy, God told Ezekial to speak, he told Joshua to march around Jericho. However there are many other where it is not so clear. Foe example is the Book of Hebrew speaking only to Christian Jews of the first century? or is it speaking to Christian Jews today? Maybe it speaks to all Christians. Technically I can dismiss all scripture and say it does not apply to me. I do not believe that to be the case.

    My question and challenge for you is to educate me on how I make a determination on what passages apply to me and what ones do not.

    Since I am doing this to learn my comments will be few. I will ask for clarification when needed and may challenge from time to time, but I want to learn.
     
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    I can tell you what I do. I begin with the assumption that everything was written for me and to me. :laugh:

    For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
    Romans 15:4

    And by whatever things I take to mean all things that were written.
     
  3. thegospelgeek

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    I wanted to post an example.

    Some people say this applies to us today. Some say it only applies to Isreal at that time. My question is not about which way you beleive on this, as I have my own thoughts as to that, but how do you arrive at your conclusion?
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    Your question is very good question and I hope others will be able to provide the answers.

    I would start with what the Scriptures says about your questions. For example, take 2 Tim. 3:15-16 as a starting point.

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Therefore "all Scripture...is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"

    There is no "wasted words" in the Scriptures. After you have asked and answered the obvious questions:

    1. Who is speaking
    2. Whom is being spoken to
    3. What is being spoken of
    4. Where is this happening

    Then we can go on to some more questions such as:

    1. How does this apply to doctrine? enduring moral principles, precepts, examples that support doctrine?

    2. What reproof is there for me? Am I violating moral lessons, principles or examples found in this text? What demonstratable evidences are provided in this text of other truths?

    3. What correction can be applied to my life - moral lessons learned

    4. What instruction in righteousness is provided for me in this? In precepts, principles, examples, types or applications to Christ?



     
  5. jbh28

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    good post and very good point about all Scripture is important. If I understand the OP correctly, how do you determine the number 2 (2. Whom is being spoken to) in the list of obvious questions.
     
  6. thegospelgeek

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    Not just to whom is it speaking at that time, but to whom does it apply today? It is typically easy to understand who the writter is speaking to, but much more difficult to determine today's application.
     
  7. kyredneck

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    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. - Charles Hodge

    IMO, the failure to follow Hodge's first rule is the most common mistake that is made. First ascertain what the immediate audience was hearing, then derive applicable truth from the passage.

    "'Tis ordinarily said, that the Jews were a typical people, the whole divine economy toward them is doctrinal and instructive to us, not immediately or literally, but by way of Anagogy" - Henry Hammond
     
  8. thegospelgeek

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    One question. if we are not to take anything instructed to Isreal literal but by way of analogy, when Joshua told them to choose who they would serve in Joshua 24, would that mean that the literal meaning only applied to those who were there? What would by the analogous meaning?

    Or as I mentioned in the OP can the challenge be dismissed altogether since he was speaking to those jews in his presence.

    I hope you don't take this as an insult and I don't intend to be a jerk if that is how it comes across.

    I agree 100% on the reliance on the Holy Spirit. That may be the only way we can make a determination.
     
  9. kyredneck

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    I didn't say 'we are not to take anything instructed to Israel literal'; in fact I quoted Hodge's first rule of interpretation, 'The Scriptures are to be taken in the sense attached to them in the age and by the people to whom they were addressed', which in every sense of the word means literal. We should first ascertain what the immediate audience was hearing, then derive applicable truth from the passage. Law and Grace are at two opposing polarities. Great care should be taken in how we apply any doctrine from the OT to the covenant of Grace. Period.

    The word is anagogy, which could include the application of analogy in order to attain to a higher meaning of a passage that goes beyond the literal. The two are related but not quite the same:

    Anagoge An`a·go"ge noun [ Greek ... a leading up; ... + ... a leading, ... to lead.] 1. An elevation of mind to things celestial.

    2. The spiritual meaning or application; esp. the application of the types and allegories of the Old Testament to subjects of the New.

    Anagogic, Anagogical An`a·gog"ic, An`a·gog"ic·al adjective Mystical; having a secondary spiritual meaning; as, the rest of the Sabbath, in an anagogical sense, signifies the repose of the saints in heaven; an anagogical explication. -- An`a*gog"ic*al*ly , adverb

    Anagogics An`a·gog"ics noun plural Mystical interpretations or studies, esp. of the Scriptures. Latin Addison.

    Anagogy An"a·go`gy noun Same as Anagoge .

    http://www.encyclo.co.uk/webster/A/76
    --------------------------------------------------
    anagogy
    Psychic content of an idealistic or spiritual nature.
    Origin: G. Anagoge, fr. An-ago, to lead up
    http://www.mondofacto.com/facts/dictionary?anagogy

    ----------------------------------------------
    Anagogy
    • (n.) Same as Anagoge.
    1. (n.) An elevation of mind to things celestial.
    2. (n.) The spiritual meaning or application; esp. the application of the types and allegories of the Old Testament to subjects of the New.
    http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/anagoge/

    anagogy
    anagogy 1. Psychic content of an idealistic or spiritual nature. 2. A mystical interpretation of a word passage , or text, especially scriptural exegesis that discovers allusions to heaven or the afterlife.
    http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index/info/view_unit/2380/

    I believe that's a choice all God's children in all ages and nations have had to make.

    Nowhere have I implied that any scripture should be dismissed. But as Henry Hammond said, ”the Jews were a typical people, the whole divine economy toward them is doctrinal and instructive to us, not immediately or literally, but by way of Anagogy". A couple of good anagogical examples from Paul would be 1 Cor 9:9-10 and Heb 4:9; i.e. ' The spiritual meaning or application; esp. the application of the types and allegories of the Old Testament to subjects of the New.'

    In no way have I been insulted or believe you to be a jerk. :)

    I agree. But if one has their mind made up beforehand that the ONLY rendering of scripture is to be literal, the teaching of the Spirit may not be heard or taken seriously.
     
    #9 kyredneck, May 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2010
  10. kyredneck

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    This is incorrect. The Sabbath rest signifies gospel salvation, the repose of the Saints in this time world.

    (It's pretty bad when you have to refute your own statements)
     
  11. thegospelgeek

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    ky,

    Thanks for the responses. They are very informative and I even learned a new word! One of my problems is that I learn by challenging, recieving the explanation, and evaluating that explanation. Sometimes it comes across poorly on a message board.

    What I am trying to learn is a definitive way, if one exist, to apply the step between knowing who the writer is writing to and applying the verse today. I have used some simpler examples from scripture that most of us would be in agreement on, however there are some others that are really challenging.
     
  12. Dr. Walter

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    Moral precepts and principles can be found in ceremonial laws, historial illustrations and cultural references. These moral precepts and principles directed to historical persons and events are just as applicable today as then.


     
  13. kyredneck

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    Exactly! Take for example the simplicity of the truth contained in Micah 6:6-8; IMO, it's eternal truth:

    "Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
     
  14. thegospelgeek

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    So, can I apply the moral precepts and principles to apply in such a way to arrive at a conclusion that if I were being pursued by an enemy that God would deliver me as he did Israel when Moses parted the Red Sea? or would the principle be that God will deliver in some way? maybe not as spectacular, but yet deliver. Or would I apply Steven's story and say that God will not deliver. Or maybe that God did deliver Steven into his promised posession just as he did Israel to theirs. I know the answer. I just don't know how I arrive at it. Is it just study and rely on the Holy Spirit? Or can it be defined logically?
     
  15. Dr. Walter

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    We cannot pit some precepts and principles against other precepts and principles. For example, if you are living in sin, you cannot claim precepts and princples found in a context of obedience to your circumstance. There are other Biblical precepts and principles that are applicable to persons living in sin (David) where God turns you over to your enemies for chastisement instead of delivering you from them

    There are precepts and principles that fit the condition of Job that may or may not fit your situation. How do you tell, examine your own condition to see if it harmonizes with Job's and if it does take comfort that God is merely demonstrating your faithfulness by testings and that you are a trophy of his grace.

    In other words, all Biblical precepts, promises and principles are found in a moral context which harmonizes with their particular application.



     
  16. MB

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    If there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek then any scripture can apply to us. If a Jew sins He'll go to hell just like the Gentile that sins. There is no double standard. There is no difference because God is no respector of men. Anyone who interprets scripture isn't allowing God to speak to there hearts. I don't have to interpret the News Paper so why would I have to interpret God's word? Isn't it reasonable to think God knows what he related to us in His own Word. The study of God's word can be done by anyone anywhere. When we take and place our spin on it, it's no longer God's word we understand but rather what we would like it to be instead.
    Most of the time when someone says it wasn't written to you but, the Jews. For instance They have forgotten that the whole of the Bible was writen for all men. Which is why it was dictated by God in the first place. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
    MB
     
  17. thegospelgeek

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    Yet we do this all of the time. It is not wrong when done properly. The law is a prime example. god instructed specific sacrifices to a specific people at a specifif time. Christ fulfilled that. If I take what you posted literally, then when I read that the jew was instructed to choose a goat , place hands on it etc. If I did not properly read all of Gods word and interpret it correctly, I would being practicing this sacrifice today. But if I intrepet and appy incorrectly I would take my son and offer him on an alter hoping that God would provide a lamb.
     
  18. MB

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    How is it that anyone can understand scripture with out considering all it has to say?. I don't believe anyone can. In my opinion it isn't a good thing to just take anothers word for it. Anothers word can be wrong.

    I've never tried to explain the word to myself. I've either undertood or didn't and if I didn't, I ask the Lord to give me wisdom so that I can understand it. Most of the time the Bible doesn't need an explannation because if you consider it all, then you know what it means.
    MB
     
  19. Dr. Walter

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    I don't know if I am really understanding your argument. However, there are two distinct contrasting admnistrations within the kingdom of God in the Bible. There is the Jewish Mosaic administration and then there is the church administration under the New Covenant. The Jewish administration has been done away with (Col. 2:14-18; Heb. 8-10). It has been eliminated because it anticipated the first coming with ordinances that the cross fulfilled. It has been done away because it was largely composed of ceremonial ordinances that were fulfilled by the church administration of the new covenant.

    The Old Testament ceremonial ordinances and sacrifices and feasts are still valuable and applicable for instructing us in the eternal principles they were designed to convey but the actual administration of the ceremonies was brought to an end by the cross and replaced with a New Testament church administration and its ordinances

    So the rule of thumb is to follow the principle Paul sets forth in 1 Cor. 10:1-11 where he teaches that valuable truths are still contained in the Old Testament stories, ceremonies and types but their actual administration is no longer applicable. New Testament scriptures are the express directions for the churches of God now while the Old Testament principles, moral precepts are eternal but not the Old Testament forms and ceremonies used to convey them.
     
    #19 Dr. Walter, May 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2010
  20. thegospelgeek

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    Dr. Walter has brought up a great example of what my OP is reffering to on another thread. In his discussion of the Holy Spirit he states that the Baptism of the Spirit is a specific event that occured four distinct times while being filled indwelt by the spirit is applicable to all of us for all time. For the record I will state that I agree, at least on the surface. My question does not pertain to wether or not his view is correct, but rather how do we arrive at it.

    John the baptist stated that one is comomh who would baptise with the Holy Ghost and fire. I beleive Jesus also make similar statements. Jesus also promised the indwelling of the spirit. Now, following the basic bible study tips that have been given hear we determine who was the audiance. In both cases it was the disciples of Jesus and some others who heard the statement. Yet we say that one case applied to them and not us, yet the other case applies to both.

    Please excuse my bad spelling and grammar, I am in a rush and my appalachian comes out.
     

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