Friday, April 15, 2011

Bible Abuse - Introduction

I have been thinking about doing this series for quite a while, and had begun doing research and outlining. I wanted to start this after I finished the Resurrection series. My laptop crashed, however, and with it all my notes on the resurrection. Yes, I know I should have backed up the files, but I didn't. So why I go back and get my research for the Resurrection series I have decided to start this new series entitled Bible Abuse.

In this new series we will be looking at various Bible verses that the cults, non-Christians and Christians use in a manner that does violence to the Scriptures. What this series will do is teach you good principles of hermeneutics by showing you how bad hermeneutics is done. It is important to understand that most misinterpretations of the Bible can be remedied by "never reading a Bible verse." I got this principle from Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason. I will be pointing this out to you as we go through the various verses when it is applicable. There are, however, other problematic issues that so many people apply to their method of Bible hermeneutics that cause faulty interpretations to surface, and we will identify them as we progress.

Before I begin, I want to define what hermeneutics is. It is both the art and science of interpreting the Bible. Hermeneutics is also something that we do everyday with all the information we read and process, from newspaper reports, to op-ed and editorial articles, to biographical works, to fiction, to non-fiction, to legal documents, etc. The genre of the literature determines the manner in which we interpret the literature. In other words, we do not interpret a legal document in the same manner as we would a comic book. The same applies to the Bible which contains a number of different genres, such as, poetry, prose, historical narrative, biography, Jewish apocalyptic, etc. The Bible is not one book that is to be interpreted in one literal and wooden manner, but rather is a collection of 66 books that are composed in different literary styles.

Secondly, the Bible was written in languages (Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek) that posses vocabulary and grammar that must be observed and followed in order to be understood. Examples of these grammatical rules are the ellipsis, and the way the writers of the New Testament would emphasize a word in the letter they were writing.

Thirdly, there have been errors in how various translating committees, especially with the King James Version, have rendered various Bible verses from the original languages into English. Because of the esteem that the KJV is held, these errors have not been corrected, though many of the modern English Bible translations have footnotes that indicate that there is a problem with the traditional rendering of a specific text.

Lastly, there has been an insertion of modern or cultural concepts into the hermeneutic style of many Biblical scholars and pastors that were completely foreign to the writers of the Old and New Testaments. An example of this is the attempt by old earth creationists to insert the concept of billions of years into the creative day.

One thing I wish to point out before I begin looking at specific Bible verses is that you, the reader, may get your interpretation of your favorite Bible verse or promise slain. Sometimes Christians, myself included, have faulty interpretations that need to be corrected. It is my prayer that you would be humble and reject faulty interpretation rather than erect an idol of your interpretation of a Bible verse. You are not alone in having faulty Bible interpretations. I have had many. Not just from my days as a Jehovah's Witness, but also from the various faulty interpretations I heard in the various churches I attended.

One last point, I do not think that I have all the answers, nor do I think that I have arrived and my knowledge of the Scriptures is complete. I have much to learn, and perhaps I have made an error in my own hermeneutics that you readers can see and correct me. I am not averse to being corrected. In fact, if I am corrected and I can verify that that I was wrong then I will change my position and post it prominently on this blog, as I have done in the past.

I also want to encourage you to post comments. I post all comments, even anonymous comments. There are one exception to the above rule, I will not post anything with profanity. Please feel free to criticize my posts, however, if you cannot express yourself without using profanity then your post is not worth reading or its author worthy of interaction.

I am looking forward to this new series, and I pray that it will be a benefit to you.

1 comment:

  1. Great! Look forward to the series.