The Importance of Biblical Interpretation

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The Importance of Biblical Interpretation

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The Importance of Biblical Interpretation

Anthony Casey and Rob Plummer


Who interprets the Bible? The Magisterial? The Church? Who is “The Church


What is the role of the Global Church?


Why is Biblical Interpretation Important?

What is “Interpretation”?

The Scriptures Show the Need for Biblical Interpretation

Language and Culture Show the Need for Biblical Interpretation



is interpretation and how is it different than meaning?

To some, there is no difference!



– The paradigm or principle that the author consciously willed to convey by the shareable symbols [i.e., writing] he or she used (Stein)


– the verbal or written expression of a reader’s understanding of the author’s meaning (Stein)


The Scriptures

Themselves Show


Need for Biblical Interpretation

2 TIMOTHY 2:15

PSALM 119:18

2 PETER 3:15-16


2 TIMOTHY 4:2-3


2 Timothy 2:15


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (NIV


“Correctly” rarely means unique or mysterious!


Psalm 119:18


Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (NIV)


2 Peter 3:15-16


Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.


He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (NIV)


Ephesians 4:11-13


It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,


to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up


until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ




What happens if there is no teaching? Read on


2 Timothy 4:2-3


Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.


For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

(2Ti 4:2-3 NIV)


Language and Culture Show the

Need for

Biblical Interpretation


There really is no such thing as a “word for word” translation. Every language has its own unique peculiarities, grammatical structure,


. Ex: Word order in Greek


Flesh (


) in Greek

Does “


” really mean “flesh” as we think of flesh in English? See Romans 13:14 in more literal translations.

In many cases, “flesh” refers to a spiritual malady known as the “sinful nature.” So, are our actual bodies evil?

So, we must interpret!


Culture Matters!

1 Corinthians 8 and 11 about eating meat in temples and sacrificed to idols


What is the role of our culture and the Bible?

How does culture inform Scripture and vice versa? Liberation theology, charismatic theology, greeting with a holy kiss,



Biblical absolutists and cultural relativists. See Bible and Culture PPT.

Is our authority in the Bible, or in the Bible teacher?


What is the goal of interpreting the Bible?

Hebrews 1:1-4 and John 5:39

Not information, but transformation!


Worldview: How People Change

See Romans 12. We change, not by addressing behavior alone, but through renewing our minds with the gospel. This is inner, or “heart” change.

Story of female lecturer who was reprimanded by her school for taking off her jacket and showing her arms on a 2 min walk from the building to her car. “In that 2 minutes, you caused 10 Muslim men to sin….” Really? Was it her arm, or their depraved minds? See sermon on mount for heart issues behind sin.

Worldview, beliefs, values, and behavior.

Worldview made up of “stories” that are like bricks in a wall. We must replace the faulty bricks with the truth.

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