Richard at food4thought blogs about a book that lists sixteen tools to have in your biblical interpretation toolbox. We quote excerpts from his post here, but head over to Richard’s blog for more details.
- Author’s Purpose
We need to get beyond what is said, important though that is, to asking the question why it’s been said.
We need to understand how what we’re studying fits in with what precedes it and what follows it.
In paying attention to the structure of a passage we need to ask first, “how has the author broken down his material into sections?” and secondly, “how do those sections fit together?”
- Linking Words
Linking words help us see the logical flow of an argument because they reveal the cause and effect relationships between different statements.
Biblical poetry makes great use of parallelism.
- Narrator’s Comment
Particularly in narrative sections the author may interrupt the narrative flow to provide a much needed commentary on what’s going on.
The Bible like every other field of expertise has its own distinctive vocabulary.
Comparing a dynamic equivalent [DE] translation like the NIV or NLT with an essentially literal [EL] translation like the ESV or the NASB can be a useful exercise.
- Tone and Feel
When we come to the Bible we need not only pay attention to the point being made but also how it is being made.
When an author repeats something it’s usually because he wants to get our attention.
Bible writers often quote from other writers and it can be helpful to look up the original context of a quotation.
Genre is a way of classifying media according to their type or style rather than specific content or storyline.
Sometimes we’re supposed to follow the example of people we read about in the Bible, though not always! We need to be wary of making narrative normative!
- Bible Timeline
We need to locate the events in salvation history.
- “Who am I?”
This helps us work out whether we’re supposed to identify with any character within a passage.
- “So What?”
We need to read the Bible and ask, “what does this mean for me and my life?”
These tools are from Dig Deeper!, a book that’s not available yet in the U.S.