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My Review of Part 1 of: A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible

Robert H Stein starts his book with some basic rules of the game. Rules are central to his approach and the word shows up in the subtitle. I notice this since I like the definition of hermeneutics as: the art and science of interpretation. From the start, it seems Stein is going to stress the science (rules) over the art. That’s fine; we just need to note it.

He starts by asking who makes up the rules. A new student may not be aware of the other schools that locate meaning outside of the original author. The dominant thought is the hermeneut is looking for the original intended meaning of the author. However, there are some who give much more power to the reader or text as the “determiner of meaning.” My strategy is not to dismiss these two methods. However, I’m old school on this one so I prefer to look for the author’s original intended meaning. One reason I do this that is not covered in the book is that one of my philosophies in doing hermeneutics is to act like I would in the real world. I occasionally find myself looking into the text of an email for meaning and I occasionally allow myself, as the reader to determine meaning. But, my most frequent instinct is to try to figure out what the author was trying to communicate. Let’s talk about the specifics of the why’s and examples on our webinar.

So that we don’t talk past one another, Stein spends the second chapter giving definitions for key terms. There’s not much to blog about here so let’s move on. We will go into some key terms that often get confused, such as the difference between interpretation and understanding.

It has often been said that we interpret the Bible just like we interpret any other book. For the most part, this is true in most cases. However, for those interested in exploring if this book is inspired, and for those who have decided already to think that is the case (like me) there is one major thing to take into extra account that we wouldn’t consider when reading The Iliad and the Odyssey, for example. We have to consider how interpretation changes when reading a book that is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Once again, we have to look at how the Spirit might work through the author, text, or reader in the process. Stein touches on the idea of how inerrancy might work here but someone interested in that might like to explore it further in this Five Views book.

See you on the webinar!

Every first Thursday of the month at 8:00 Central time.

Here is the information for the webinar and conference call:

1. Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/321740445

2. Join the conference call:
1-844-286-0640 – Code – 246-0430

Meeting ID: 321-740-445

Online Theological Book Club – Book 2

 

Click here for a quick YouTube video.

Announcement:

We’ve started an online theological book club!

I’m going to be choosing some books that may be a bit of a challenge for some but not so difficult that they would be overly frustrating. We’ll be reading the books and talking about them once per month to begin with.

I will start off each week by giving some background information, laying out various views and such, as a means of kicking off the dialogue. I do not plan to dominate the discussion nor do I plan to go into the discussions with an agenda as it relates to theology/doctrine etc.  I do hope that this may eventually be the groundwork for a church plant but involvement in that vision is not necessary.  In fact, we will almost assuredly have in attendance people from all over the country!

People can talk a little or a lot (within reason!) and should not be concerned about being called on to answer questions. Dialogue will be respectful and challenging.  It may get messy but people will be asked to remain professional.

Attendees should expect a variety of views to be shared. The theme of diversity of thought will remain a core value.

We’ll have webinar and conference call capabilities. I may at some point offer two time slots for the same discussion topic to help facilitate differing schedules.

The webinars will be the first Thursday of every month at 8:00pm Central time.

I hope to bring in some guests occasionally (theologians, etc.) and welcome the opportunity to allow others to lead the discussion.

We welcome all attendees to invite friends to join and there is no pressure to be present at every event. People of all degrees of theological experience are welcome.

I hope to see you there!

If you’d like to stay informed, please join our main Facebook page here for announcements.

 

Our second book is on hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is essential to a deeper study of scripture. You can purchase the book here.  Please let me know if you need monetary help with the cost of the book.  Our hope is no one would miss out on the fun due to finances. 

Here is the information for the webinar and conference call:

1.  Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/321740445

2.  Join the conference call:
1-844-286-0640 – Code – 246-0430

Meeting ID: 321-740-445

Greg Boyd – Questions on the Scriptures

[If you’re new to this blog, we’d love it if you subscribed to our RSS feed or email updates to the right. Should you decide to in the future, unsubscribing is easy, too. If you like it and share via Twitter or Facebook that’d be almost as good as a Star Wars movie.]

Click HERE for an introductory YouTube video for Greg Boyd – Questions on the Scriptures

Click HERE for details on the Online Theological Book Club.

I’ve decided to try to type a prequel blog before each online theological book club meeting. So, here is the first. We’re going to be talking about Greg Boyd’s third section in his book Letters from a Sceptic covering questions on the bible. We should keep in mind the type of book this one is. This is not the type of book that goes into super great detail on any particular subject. While it contains theology, its main purpose is not theology. So, we don’t get a full reveal from this book alone on lots of theological topics. Through other reading of Greg’s works we can put together a more full treatment of topics. However, I will only be dealing with what I see in this text.

Greg makes mention of a few things that stand out. First, Greg, at least at this point in his life is a self-described evangelical. I’m curious to know if he still identifies in this camp. One reason for that is that already in this book he seems to be leaning away from what some would say is a test of evangelicalism (though not all would agree). He stops short of saying inerrant when describing the Bible. Instead, he uses the word infallible. He doesn’t likely feel the need to go into this with his father so it remains something that hovers in the text. Being near the end of Five Views on Inerrancy I can only speculate who Greg might resonate most with. I’m certain there are a couple he definitely does not identify with.

Another piece that stands out is the idea that scripture has a main purpose of helping people to get back to living in the image of God (salvation). Whatever disagreements we may have about a great many things, the Christian community has come to near consensus that this is the main goal of scripture and that the scriptures, in the form that we have them in, have been accomplishing that goal for centuries. Various groups, including Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants and so on, may have entirely different perspectives on how to approach the Bible, but we agree with Greg on this.

Those who know me, or have read many of my blogs know that I’m a big unity guy. Also, to me, unity won’t come by getting everyone to agree on everything. Rather, it will come some other way. One thing that will help that is brought out by inference by Greg is the need to see deeply into the reasons for our disagreements. Disagreements usually go very deep into an issue so that constant comments at the surface level won’t help. Only a big step back, looking deeply into the origins of a way of thinking will help. In this case, we can see the way the initial assumptions about the way to approach the scriptures (as the authority vs. an authority, as interpreted through various cultural lenses, or as reading through ancient lenses versus current lenses, for example) lead us into vary different places at the end of our theology. So, before we can make any progress in a discussion about the meaning of communion or baptism, for example, we would do well to address certain underlying issues first.

However, Greg wisely avoids getting too in depth on these issues in his letters. He’s familiar with his audience and knows he only needs to help with general plausibility of the metanarrative.

Online Theological Book Club

 

Click here for a quick YouTube video.

Announcement:

I’m going to be starting an online theological book club!

I’m going to be choosing some books that may be a bit of a challenge for some but not so difficult that they would be overly frustrating. We’ll be reading the books and talking about them once per month to begin with.

I will start off each week by giving some background information, laying out various views and such, as a means of kicking off the dialogue. I do not plan to dominate the discussion nor do I plan to go into the discussions with an agenda as it relates to theology/doctrine etc.  I do hope that this may eventually be the groundwork for a church plant but involvement in that vision is not necessary.  In fact, we will almost assuredly have in attendance people from all over the country!

People can talk a little or a lot (within reason!) and should not be concerned about being called on to answer questions. Dialogue will be respectful and challenging.  It may get messy but people will be asked to remain professional.

Attendees should expect a variety of views to be shared. The theme of diversity of thought will remain a core value.

We’ll have webinar and conference call capabilities. I may at some point offer two time slots for the same discussion topic to help facilitate differing schedules.

The webinars will be the first Thursday of every month at 8:00pm Central time.

I hope to bring in some guests occasionally (theologians, etc.) and welcome the opportunity to allow others to lead the discussion.

We welcome all attendees to invite friends to join and there is no pressure to be present at every event. People of all degrees of theological experience are welcome.

I hope to see you there!

If you’d like to stay informed, please join our main Facebook page here for announcements.

 

Our first book is an easy read but has some interesting ideas.  We’ll be discussing Greg Boyd’s book Letters From A Skeptic.  You can purchase the book here.  Please let me know if you need monetary help with the cost of the book.  Our hope is no one would miss out on the fun due to finances.  (FYI – We will not always be reading books within my own theological preferences, but for a number of reasons I thought this book would be a nice place to start.)

Here is the information for the webinar and conference call:

1.  Please join my meeting.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/321740445

2.  Join the conference call:
1-844-286-0640 – Code – 246-0430

Meeting ID: 321-740-445

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