How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 3rd Ed

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

Preface to 1st Edition

p13 Emphasis on genres and how to approach the different genres.

p14 the "great urgency that gave birth to this book is hermeneutics; we wrote especially to help believers wrestle with the questions of application."

p15 List os 10 different kinds of literary genres.

1. Introduction: The Need to Interpret

p20 Cult uses of the Bible: Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, snake-handlers

p22 Implications of the human side of the Bible

  1. Multiple types of literature
  2. Used vocabulary that was meaningful to the original hearers.

p23 Exegesis - finding the original intent of the words of the Bible.

p26 Historical context

p27 Literary context

p29 Hermeneutics - the only proper control is the original intent of the Biblical text, so exegesis comes first.

p30 "A text cannot mean what it never meant." ties us back to exegesis.

2. The Basic Tool: A Good Translation

p39 3 languages

  • Hebrew - most of the Old Testament
  • Aramaic - half of Daniel and two passages from Ezra
  • Greek - entire New Testament

p35 Copied over 1400 years. >5000 Greek manuscripts

p37 NKJV poor, late manuscripts better are NRSV and TNIV.

This is a very thorough chapter with lots of examples of the problems of translation. As a bottom line, they come down in favor of TNIV as a good committee translation. I was surprised that they ranked the Good News Bible very highly as well as NAB which I don't know. They also like REB and NJB, also unfamiliar to me.

3. The Epistles: Learning to Think Contextually



4. The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions



5.The Old Testament Narratives: Their Proper Use



6. Acts: The Question of Historical Precedent

p107 "It not only tells us the history of the early church, but it also serves as the normative model for the church at all times. And this is precisely our hermeneutical difficulty."

p108 "Our lack of hermeneutical precision as to what Acts is trying to teach that has led to a lot of the division one finds in the church."

p109 Luke, a gentile, was very much influenced by Old Testament history. He is interested in telling of God's continued activity.

p111 Divisions: Peter Ch 1-12, Paul Ch 13-28. Geographical expansion of the gospel to Jerusalem (1-7), Samaria and Judea (8-10), Ends of the Earth (11-28). Note the brief summary statement in the verses they give.

p112 Panels proposed

p112 Proposals about Luke's purpose

  1. 1. Luke's interest in the movement of the gospel from Jewish to worldwide, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit
  2. Not a story of lives of apostles, or of church polity, or of church history in general
  3. Not standardization, no set model being proposed.
  4. Intended as model - "like them" in "triumphant, joyful, forward-moving expansion of the gospel"

p114 Acts 6:1-7 Setup for first expansion

p116 Acts 8: 5-25

p118 Hermeneutics of Acts "does the book of Acts have a word that not only describes the primitive church but speaks as a norm to the church at all times?"

p118 Assumption: "Unless Scripture explicitly tells us we must do something, what is only narrated or described does not function in a normative (i.e., obligatory) way --unless it can be demonstrated on other grounds that the author intended it to function in this way."

p119-120 Doctrinal statements

p120 Concept of intentionality. Scripture teaches .. but just recording is not necessarily teaching. "God's Word is to be found in the intent of the scripture."

p120 Paragraph 4 Hypothesis that Luke "was trying to show how the church emerged as a chiefly Gentile, worldwide phenomenon from its origins as a Jerusalem-based, Judaism-oriented sect of Jewish believers, and how the Holy Spirit was directly responsible for this phenomenon of universal salvation based on grace alone."

p121 Principles of hermeneutics of historical narrative

p122 Normal is not necessarily "normative"

p123-124 Specific principles of hermeneutics

  1. It is never valid to use analogy based on Biblical precedent as giving Biblical authority. (Gideon)
  2. Biblical narratives do have illustrative and "pattern" value.
  3. Biblical precedents may sometimes be regarded as repeatable patterns.

7. The Gospels: One Story, Many Dimensions






8. The Parables: Do You Get the Point?



9. The Law(s): Covenant Stipulations for Israel



10: The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel



11: The Psalms: Israel's Prayers and Ours



12: Wisdom: Then and Now



13: The Revelation: Images of Judgment and Hope



Reading Reference
FaithpathR Nave
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