Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lessons from Harold Camping, Part 2 of ??

Well, technically, I wrote this a month or two before Camping's false prophecy became national news, but it speaks to a broad issue that arises from how Camping arrived at his false prophecy, Biblical interpretation (see and my previous blog post, The following was written for our church home group:

Basics of Bible Interpretation

Without neglecting or diminishing the Holy Spirit's role in teaching us truth, the Bible should be approached as one would just about any literary document. Understanding should begin by following several fairly common sense principles.

Words - What does each word mean?

Grammar & Syntax - What meaning is coded into the grammar and structure of the

Figures of speech - Look for the point of similes, metaphors and hyperbole rather
    than trying to interpret such figures of speech literally (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:24
    and Hebrews 12:29 or Matthew 23:37).

Compositional Context - What does a statement mean and how does it function
    within the line of narrative or thought?

Literary Form - Is what one is reading historical narrative? A parable? Legal code?
    Corrective or encouraging exhortation? Prophetic vision?

Key questions to ask while reading:

Who is speaking?
Who is being addressed?
What is the speaker's purpose?
What is the historic context?
What is the Cultural context?

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