Have you ever wondered how to make a theological argument? While many tools can help us make arguments, there are four overlapping steps to making a theological argument. Here they are: [Read more…] about How to Make a Theological Argument
Why do we read the Bible? Ask yourself this question. What’s the point? “Do I read to understand history? Do genealogies, timelines, and charts sum up my reading habits?” If so, you probably read to understand history. “Do I read Genesis 1 to argue for evolutionary creationism?” If so, you probably read Genesis 1 to buffer a preferred scientific theory.
And while we can read the Bible and ask any question from it, we need to realize that Holy Scripture has a purpose, which directs how we ought to read Genesis 1 or any text for that matter.
When we read the Bible, we intuitively get its meaning. If we read a story about Abraham, we know that characters move through a story until its conclusion. If we read Proverbs, we know that we read wise sayings.
Yet our intuition mostly comes by way of basic education: we learned how to read and understand stories. So we apply what we’ve learned in school and in life to the Bible. And we attend a church where we hear the Bible preached. For that reason, we also have learned how to apply the Bible to our lives.
What we call intuition in large part derives from experience and education. And so it is worth considering how we get meaning from the Bible since we all bring something to the text. The question should be: are we bringing beneficial assumptions when we read it?
Here are four main ways that I see us reading Scripture to grasp its meaning. By looking at each, we can grow in our awareness of how we read the Bible and hopefully become more skilled at reading Scripture through this knowledge.
The famous historian Adolf Harnack once asserted, “The attempts at deducing the genesis of the Church’s doctrinal system from the theology of Paul, or from compromises between Apostolic doctrinal ideas, will always miscarry; for they fail to note that to the most important premises of the Catholic doctrine of faith belongs an element which we cannot recognise as dominant in the New Testament, viz., the Hellenic spirit.”*
And it is not that he sees this difference between Jewish and Greek thought as a minor divergence. He claims, “Judaism and Hellenism in the age of Christ were opposed to each other.”** Harnack’s thesis, I would suggest, still predominates today, even if heavily nuanced and rebuffed largely by Hengel.
Yet the idea that Greek thought with its metaphysical interest or abstracted language does not match the biblical idiom of the Bible is beyond false. [Read more…] about Hellenism Wasn’t Such a Bad Thing
To be a good reader and to dive into the theological depth of the Bible, we need to learn about the concept of prosopology. Now, prosopology is simply a technical word, which refers to the act of defining the person who speaks in a text. The Greek word prospon, from which get prosopology, can take the meaning of “person.” Prosopology, thus, studies the person speaking in a text.
At this point, we might be tempted to roll our eyes at this jargon because of how obvious the point is: of course, we read books and recognize who speakers are. Yet as seasoned readers of the Bible will note, sometimes it is not clear who is speaking in biblical texts. And so It takes some effort to determine the identity of a voice in a text.
At this point, we need to look at a couple of illustrations lest the point become so esoteric that we miss how practical it really is. [Read more…] about What Is Prosopology?
Bible study comes down to at least two things. Firstly, we read the bible to know what the text says, and secondly, we reflect on what text means by what it says. While this might seem overly simple, reading the Bible well nevertheless takes both effort and spiritual discernment. [Read more…] about All Bible study comes down to at least two things