Genesis Through Joshua- Introduction: Summarising the Original Meaning

Can we understand the original meaning of a text in a way that is effective for the church?

Original Meaning and Interpretive Summaries
The text has one coherent meaning.

Our interpretations of the text can be true but not comprehensive- we have partial summaries.

How many Atlantic oceans? There’s one objective, coherent ocean.

How many ways are there to describe this ocean? Multiple. You can describe the ocean in terms of location, types of water, colour, etc. We can describe the ocean in multiple ways.

Partial and true interpretations of Genesis 1v1:
God created the heavens and the earth
There was a beginning in time
You can divide the creation into the heavens and the earth
There’s only one God

There are different ways of summarising the same reality.
Many disagreements happen over emphasis not heresy.

Angles on the Original Meaning
What are the main ways to make interpretative summaries on a passage?

Three types of analysis used when looking at OT passages:

Thematic: things that are of interest to the reader

Historical: what events are taking place in the time?

Literary: What was important to the writer?

1) Thematic Analysis is:

Looking at the Bible as a mirror that reflects back on the readers topics of concern
Eg looking at the Bible as a book of examples leads to treating Noah as a character to imitate.

TA often majors on minors.
Systematic Theology is another form of TA.
TA is a legitimate way of looking at scripture.
The writer of Hebrews uses thematic analysis to write Hebrews 11.

2) Historical Analysis is:

Treating the Bible as a window to look back onto past events.

HA takes two forms:
Factual form: looking at texts to gain information about a particular site or city.
Biblical Theology: A redemptive historical analysis. The Bible is a history of God saving people.

E.g. Gen 1
Factually? What does Gen 1 tell us about the events of the time

3) Literary Analysis is:

Keeping the form and content of the passage together not just using the bare data.
LA is used for looking at prominent themes. Hence it majors in majors and minors in the minors.

This course will tend to use the literary approach.
We’ll be looking at Genesis and Exodus as books for the Israelites.

Example of Literally Analysis using Genesis 12v10-20
Usual interpretations are dominated by questioning Abraham’s morals in lying.
Thematic and Historical approaches don’t being out the main point of the passage.

Literary Analysis by using a dramatic flow:
V10-11 Abraham travels to Egypt
V20 Egypt leaves Egypt

V11-16 Abraham and Sarah plan to lie and then are captured by Pharaoh
V18-19 Pharaoh releases Abram and Sarah

V17 God afflicts Pharaohs house with plagues
The Israelites knew that the God who sent plagues in Abram’s day sent plagues in there day. The narrative is written for the readers and so identifies with them.

Moses is talking about Abram in order to tell them about themselves.
God delivered Israel and Abram by intervening by plagues. Abram and Israelites leave with riches.

The Implications for the original audience:
‘God has done this before. We should trust in God’s call to Canaan because He led our Father Abram.’

Implication for us:
Am I in Egypt?
Have I made a mistake? No this is what God did for Abram and for Christ.

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