How to Interpret Scripture

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2013 in Scripture
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D.A. Carson has given an excellent article on the importance of biblical interpretation in Modern Reformation. Here’s the outline of his introductory principles on the topic:

  1. As conscientiously as possible, seek the balance of Scripture, and avoid succumbing to historical and theological disjunctions.
  2. Recognize that the antithetical nature of certain parts of the Bible, not least some of Jesus’ preaching, is a rhetorical device, not an absolute. The context must decide where this is the case.
  3. Be cautious about absolutizing what is said or commanded only once.
  4. Carefully examine the biblical rationale for any saying or command.
  5. Carefully observe that the formal universality of proverbs and of proverbial sayings is only rarely an absolute universality. If proverbs are treated as statutes or case law, major interpretive and pastoral errors will inevitably ensue.
  6. The application of some themes and subjects must be handled with special care, not only because of their intrinsic complexity, but also because of essential shifts in social structures between Biblical times and our own day.

Read Carson’s explanation of each point here.

HT: Justin Taylor and Thabiti Anyabwile

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