The Didactic Must Interpret the Historical

Another rule stemming from this principle that the Bible is progressive revelation is that the Gospels and Acts (The historical) are interpreted, for the most part, by the Epistles or didactic (teaching epistles). The emphasis of the Gospels and Acts is found generally in the record of events, while the Epistles are generally more concerned with interpretation of the significance of these events in terms of doctrine, exhortation and application. If we are confused, then, about something in the Gospels or Acts, we ought to check on what the Epistles have to say about the issue. The teaching epistles or the didactic will help us to interpret the narrative portions.

This rule is not absolute, especially when the Gospels and Acts have teaching recorded. For instance, in many of the passages in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts, not only is there a record of the acts of Jesus and the apostles, but teaching recorded as well. Does that mean that Jesus' teaching and the apostles' teaching in the Gospels and Acts is given less authority than that of the Epistles (the letters of the apostles)? That is not the intent of this principle. Whenever the teaching of Jesus or the apostles is recorded, it is authoritative.

This rule is important; however, to warn against drawing too many references from records of what people do in the narrative passages.

 

The Principle of Progressive Revelation (2/2)

 

In the first part of this principle we underscored how God’s revelation was progressively handed out to man. In this edition we will explore how self-acclaim messiahs, false prophets and teachers have intelligently usurp the progressive principle and forced certain books and teachings  to be accepted as part of the canon and prove how their claim is false, unaccepted and subjective.

 Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses

 The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century writings allegedly written by Moses, and passed down as hidden (or lost) books of the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch. These books claim that the miracles performed by Moses were the result of magic and so the text contains magical incantations which aim to instruct the reader in the spells used to create the miracles recorded in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. These writings contain Talmudic magic names, words and incantations and depicted with diagrams of "Seals": magical drawings accompanied by incantations intended to perform various tasks, from controlling weather or people to contacting the dead.

 Response:

 At the end of his writings Moses emphatically declared the end of his writings and gave instructions to Joshua his successor and the Levites to keep the Pentateuch locked up in the Ark of the Covenant.

 Deuteronomy 31:24-27 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,

 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying,

 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.

 For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?

 Historically there was a leader in the person of Joshua and no one could touch the Ark of the Covenant on his own volition and live not even the Levites. They have to be clean according to God’s standard.  

 These 6th and 7th  books of Moses which can only be traced to 18th-century German pamphlets, and made popular through printing in 1849 in the 19th century, spread through Germany and Northern Europe, to German immigrants in the United States and eventually helped popularize the texts among African Americans in the South and Caribbean, and Anglophone West Africa. It influenced European Occult Spiritualism, as well as popular religious movements in the American South (Hoodoo), the Caribbean (Rastafarian), and West Africa are nothing but an attempt to claim legitimacy for the miracles duplicated by Pharaoh’s magicians of all the miracles God performed through Moses. Theses text only leads to bondage, dangling in the occult and eventually losing your soul to Satan.

Paraclete

Paraclete comes from the Koine Greek word παράκλητος ‘paráklētos’, which signify "one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts; hence refreshes, and/or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court").

Many Muslim writers have argued that “another Paraclete” (John 14:16) used in reference to the Holy Spirit actually refers to Muhammad. A few Muslim commentators, such as David Benjamin Keldani (1928), have argued that the original Greek word used was periklytos, meaning famed, illustrious, or praiseworthy, rendered in Arabic as Ahmad, and that this was substituted by Christians with parakletos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraclete

 Response:

Muslim accounts say the Quran began in the year 610 when Gabriel appeared to Muhammad in the cave Hira near Mecca, reciting to him the first verses of the Sura Iqra (al-`Alaq). This was 500 years after compilation of the Christian text and the canonization of the Bible in the 5th century. So the Bible was a prerecorded text from which any people can make substitutes and falsify some of the text to suit their teaching and not vice versa as claimed by Islamic scholars.

All scripture is inspired

In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read that all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching and instruction in righteousness. Many have taking the progressive principle to mean once God revealed or inspired the scripture then it’s meant to be practiced.

Response:

The Pharisees in Jesus’s day took the same progressive stands and questioned Jesus if it was right for a man to put away his wife as was allowed by Moses. In answering the Pharisees Jesus made a distinction between ‘permissive will’ and ‘perfect will’ of God. Jesus reminded them it was the hardness and rebelliousness of their heart that made Moses grants them permission through the writing of a bill of divorcement. He however reiterated God’s plan from the beginning of creation that ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’ with regards to marriage Mark 10:1-9. Every scripture that is written by inspiration according to the apostle Paul was written for our learning (Romans 15:4) to decipher which part is authorized as God’s perfect will for conduct.

Apocrypha

The word Apocrypha means works, usually written works that are of unknown authorship, or of doubtful authenticity. There are Old and New Testament writings considered as Apocryphal. These books have been refuted and rejected as lacking inspiration, authenticity and authorship and therefore have never been accepted as authentic and were not included in the books of the Bible.

Response:      

The 66 books that make up the Bible were canonized by Jewish rabbis and scholars and later by early Christian’s leaders. The term “canon” is used to describe the books that are divinely inspired and therefore belong in the Bible. Ultimately, it was God who decided what books belonged in the biblical canon. The process started between AD 170 and finally at Council of Carthage A.D. 397.

When the last book of the Bible was concluded Jesus Himself sign off and gave a strong warning with consequences to whoever will try to add to or remove from the prophecy of the Scriptures. Revelation 22:16-19.

Progressive revelation of the scriptures does not suggest that there is room for additions or misinterpretation of the scriptures. There are checks and balances put in place by Jewish and church fathers committed to preserving the scriptures from unscrupulous fingers.

 

For more information visit www.redemptionnews.org

 

The Principle of Literary Style (Genre)

When we study a passage, we have to determine the literary style (genre). This, in fact, is the first matter to be settled. In which style of writing were the individual words written? Scripture can be poetry, proverbs, history, parables, sermons, letters, apocalyptic, etc. The determination of the text's literary genre will determine what rules we use to interpret the passage.

It is wrong to treat a parable and an epistle in the same way. Each type of literature must be approached differently. For example, one cannot build a doctrine of the afterlife on the interpretation of the rich man and Lazarus. The concept of different compartments in Hades occurs only there in Scripture. We do not know if Christ meant this to be a precise picture of heaven and hell. Each parable is meant to teach a single point, and we are in danger if we take the details too far. The central message of the rich man and Lazarus story is the danger of misusing wealth.

On the other hand, each point of an epistle is important, and often the key to one aspect is found in the previous point.

Poetry  

Distinguishing poetry from prose is another important factor of Bible Interpretation. About thirty percent of the Old Testament is written in poetry. Most older versions such as King James Version doesn’t indicate these differences but newer versions such as New Living Translations and New English Bible are using different formats in writing  from poetry. You will notice such differences by looking at the narrative book of Genesis and the poetical book Psalms in the newer versions.

Since poetry is concerned with emotions rather than the accurate descriptions of the message, it uses more figurative language more than prose. With proper understanding poetry is just as comprehensible as prose and they are easier to be memorized.

There are common features of poetry called parallelism and you need to recognized them to help understands the main point of the poetry.

  • Synonymous parallelism: A line strengthens, develops, reinforces or repeat the line before it.

  • Matthew 7:7-8

7/ Ask and it shall be given you;

          Seek and ye shall find;

          Knock and it shall be open unto you

8/ for every one that asketh receiveth;

and every one who seeketh findeth;

and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.(KJV)

  • Isaiah 44:22

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist (NIV)

What we have in Matthew 7:7-8 are not 3 steps of different types of prayer. They are simply different ways of saying the same thing. The verses are simply expressing that “God answers our prayers”

  • Antithetical  parallelism.: the most common parallelism in the Bible, where a line contrast the message or the point of the line before it.

 

  • Psalm 37:21

The wicked borrow and do not repay. But the righteous give generously. (NIV)

 

  • Proverbs 10:1

A wise son maketh a glad father;

But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother (KJV)

 

  • Synthetic parallelism: A line goes further than just repeating or reinforcing but by providing more information on the line before it

  • Psalm 14:2  

The Lord looks down from heaven on the son of men, to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. (NIV)

  • Obadiah 2:1

And savior shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau;

And the kingdom shall be the LORD’S

 

We need to know, then, the various rules of interpretation for each literary style

 

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