Bible exegesis and hermeneutics (aka Bible Study)

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by FutureTrackStar, May 13, 2009.

  1. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    This is a thread for Bible exegesis. Specifically, this is a thread for those who believe the original Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God.

    For terminology, let me clarify:

    Exegesis is act the "drawing out" meaning in scripture.

    "One principle of bad Bible study is known as eisogesis - which basically means to read into the Bible rather than reading out of it. Such a person approaches the Bible trying to justify his chosen lifestyle or ideas rather than deriving his life and ideas from the Bible. Often such a person approaches particular passages with a "how can I get around what it says" type of attitude rather than making an honest attempt at deducing what the author actually has in mind."

    Not eisogesis, exegesis. You find out what the Bible says, not what you want it to say.

    Hermeneutics is the method on which one conducts exegesis. I would say the quote below expresses hermeneutics quite accurately:

    What is Biblical hermeneutics?
    The most important law of biblical hermeneutics is that the Bible should be interpreted literally. Literal Bible interpretation means you understand the Bible in its normal/plain meaning. The Bible says what it means and means what it says. Many make the mistake of trying to read between the lines and come up with meanings for Scriptures that are not truly in the text. Yes, of course, there are some spiritual truths behind the plain meanings of Scripture. That does not mean that every Scripture has a hidden spiritual truth, or that it should be our goal to find all such spiritual truths. Biblical hermeneutics keeps us faithful to the intended meaning of Scripture and away from allegorizing and symbolizing Bible verses and passages that should be understood literally.

    A second crucial law of biblical hermeneutics is that a verse or passage must be interpreted historically, grammatically, and contextually. Historical interpretation refers to understanding the culture, background, and situation which prompted the text. Grammatical interpretation is recognizing the rules of grammar and nuances of the Hebrew and Greek languages and applying those principles to the understanding of a passage. Contextual interpretation involves always taking the surrounding context of a verse/passage into consideration when trying to determine the meaning."

    With that terminology covered, I will ask this: Is the method of hermeneutics explained above acceptable by all of you (Bible believers... I know there are some out there)? If it's not, we can discuss why not. I'm going to assume that it is ok, if not then we can backtrack.

    I think the first topic to be explored is simply the answer to the question: Who is God? Who does the Bible say God is? What does the Bible say about God and His character?

    Agree? Disagree?

    (I figured I'd start this only because there is so much pointless arguing about the Bible that doesn't actually take on a learning environment. This is a thread for discovering what the Bible actually says)
    Last edited: May 13, 2009

  2. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    I'd argue that a better way to phrase the most important law of hermeneutics is to "interpret literally what was meant to be interpreted literally".

    For instance, if verse uses a metaphor, obviously it wouldn't be interpreted literally - it was intended to be a metaphor.
  3. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - Absolutely, I agree. You could go even further and say, "interpret the Bible as it was meant to be interpreted"... which is why I've said to you before, "let the Bible interpret itself". I'll admit, that latter quote could potentially lead to some nasty results, as could the former, because nobody can be completely certain as to how the Bible authors intended their works to be interpreted. But ideally: "interpret the Bible as it was meant to be interpreted".

    But absolutely, "interpret literally what was meant to be interpreted literally". But I think, in certain cases, the authors literally meant for their writing to be literally interpreted as a metaphor.... if that makes any sense.

    We're essentially on the same page... I just tend to digress :)

    ... I just hope more people are willing to contribute...
  4. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    You used too many big words :p.

    Also, you said
    Which drastically limits the number of participants, and anyone who agrees with you will just say they agree, and the discussion will peter out.

    "I think the Bible is the inerrant word of God"

    "Me too."

    "I agree."


    "Ummm.... now what do we talk about?"
  5. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - I think you may have missed the point of the thread. I intended this thread to be a place where we can.... basically... study the Bible. I have the resources.... the Greek scriptures, the lexicons, the commentaries, the theology books... you name it.

    Now that I think about it... I wouldn't be surprised if I (and you?) am/are the only one(s) on this site who legitimately want(s) to do that.
  6. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Yeah, I definitely misunderstood what you were going for.

    I'm sure there are others who believe the same/similarly, but like I said, some of them will be scared off by words like 'exegesis' and 'hermeneutics' in the title.
  7. Bjarki

    Bjarki Registered Member

    I'm in for exegesis, but not on your terms. I don't see why it's really needed to take things literally in order to have a discussion.. free interpretations may be equally interesting, even if you dismiss them as being nothing but humane gibberish.

    Would also be easier to pick out a certain passage, rather than deal with a general theme that requires people to read the entire bible from a to z.
  8. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - I said this thread was for people who believe the Bible is the actual inerrant Word of God. If you believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, wouldn't you want to interpret the Bible exactly as it was meant to be interpreted? If I wrote the sentence:

    My friend is lost in the woods, so now I'm waiting for him here.

    How do you think you should interpret the sentence? As a metaphor? Remember, we are doing exegesis, not eisogesis. You "draw out" the meaning of the scriptures from the scriptures themselves, because the scriptures usually mean something quite specific. If the Bible says Jesus was pierced on His side, then the author was trying to say that Jesus was literally pierced on His side. It's quite simple.

    Why, how would you perform exegesis?

    - It won't require somebody to read the Bible from A to Z. I have a huge library right on my computer, and software designed for Biblical study, which means I can type in a word and it will search the Bible for every one of its appearances, it will show the Greek word and it's meaning, etc.

    And the reason you would do it by topic, instead of by verse, is because... well... if you actually believe the Bible holds all the answers, then the fastest way to get the answers is to ask the Bible questions and then find the answers. So, first question(s): Who is God? What is He like? It wouldn't take that long to find an answer to this question. It may not be thorough and complete, but we're not professional theologians, so a basic understanding is all that would be pursued.
  9. Bjarki

    Bjarki Registered Member

    I'm just saying, to get a broader discussion about biblical subjects the entry level should be as low as possible.. including those that view the bible not as the inerrant word of God or those who do not take the bible literally.
  10. FutureTrackStar

    FutureTrackStar Registered Member

    - Well, if you read the OP then you would see that this thread is for discussion between people who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. If you want to have a broader discussion, make a thread for it :D
    Here's some stuff to get started with:

    God is declared to be...

    Is 60:19 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.
    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
    1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

    1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
    1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

    Job 23:8–9 “Look, I go forward, but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
    John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
    John 5:37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
    Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
    1 Tim 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Job 11:7 “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?
    Job 37:23 As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, In judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress.
    Ps 145:3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
    Is 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
    Rom 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

    Rom 1:23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    Deut 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’
    Ps 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
    Rev 4:8–10 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

    1 Tim 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
    1 Tim 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

    Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
    Ex 6:3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.

    Ps 139:1–6 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
    Prov 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths.

    Ps 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    Jer 23:23 “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?

    Ps 102:26–27 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.
    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
    Alone is wise.
    Rom 16:27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
    1 Tim 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

    Ex 15:11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
    Ps 145:5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.

    Most High.
    Ps 83:18 That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.
    Acts 7:48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:

    Matt 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

    Ps 99:9 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.
    Is 5:16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.

    Deut 32:4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
    Is 45:21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.

    Jer 10:10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
    John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

    Ps 25:8 Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
    Ps 92:15 To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

    Ezra 9:15 O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!”
    Ps 145:17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.

    Ps 25:8 Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
    Ps 119:68 You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

    2 Chr 2:5 And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.
    Ps 86:10 For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.

    Ex 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
    Ps 116:5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.

    1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
    1 Pet 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

    Ex 34:6–7 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
    Ps 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

    Num 14:18 ‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’
    Mic 7:1 Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires.

    Josh 24:19 But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
    Nah 1:2 God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies;

    2 Kin 13:23 But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.

    A consuming fire.
    Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

    MacArthur, J. (1999). The MacArthur topical Bible : New King James Version (489). Nashville, Tenn.: Word Pub.
    Last edited: May 14, 2009

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