The History Of Bible Interpretation

You may also like...

31 Responses

  1. Em says:

    7 points …. all good ones, Michael !

  2. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    something like the fourfold approach was, if memory serves, a beloved strategy used by John Donne in his sermons on the Psalms. I recall reading a few of those sermons and remember them being pretty good. Scholars said Donne’s biblical hebrew was really good but his biblical greek was a disaster. Fortunately having one of the greatest poets in the English language be the same person who gave sermons on Psalms means there’s some helpful stuff in them.

    Paradoxically, ten years ago at least, those sermons were freebies at … an online library at Brigham Young University. Not where I would have expected them to be!

  3. filistine says:

    Funny how some paradigms will dismiss Pete Enns right out of the gate and never read or listen further. He doesn’t fit their format and appears on their ‘wanted–dead or alive’ posters. Personally, Enns is a significant voice in my re-formation. I applaud your selection of this class and will follow this discussion iwth interest.

  4. Michael says:


    I was trained to dismiss him as a heretic when I was in the Reformed camp…they dislike him even more than Wright.

    I’ve learned some profound things from him and discarded some of his thought as well…but he always makes me think.

    Using him for this article also satisfied my need to provoke people… 🙂

  5. filistine says:

    Michael, the provocateur… may your tribe increase. Enns is much more accessible than Wright, I think, but much of that is by design–on both parties’ parts. Enns is a scholar, but writes for a more general audience–while Wright’s approach is scholarly and therefore more cumbersome. Enns has wicked humor too, may his tribe increase!

  6. filistine says:

    butt, I could be rong.

  7. Michael says:


    What we all have in common is a love for Jesus and a thirst for truth…sometimes you have to provoke people into both.
    Glad you’re on board, my friend…you fit right in as a practiced provocateur for Christ…

  8. Em says:

    Michael @8:32
    AMEN !

  9. Officerhoppy says:

    This is why I struggle so much with Christianity or any religion to be true. Or if there is even a God.

    It’s alway changing.

    I keep hanging in there though…if only by a thread

    I feel, sometimes, like I have nothing firm to hang onto spiritually I get the concept of faith, but faith has to be anchored in truth, doesn’t it?

    Sorry…I read this at a weak moment

    I don’t know what to believe anymore
    Maybe post modernists are right: there is no absolute truth

  10. Michael says:


    What you’re seeking is rationalism, not religion.

    What have all believers at all times in all places believed?

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
    and born of the virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried;
    he descended to hell.
    The third day he rose again from the dead.
    He ascended to heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
    From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic* church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

    That’s the confession I make.

    The rest of it is a great journey of exploration that never ends.

  11. Officerhoppy says:

    Appreciate your response

    Sounds like you’re saying religion is not rational.

    I’m just looking for the truth…at least that’s what I hope

  12. Michael says:


    The basis of faith in Christianity is that a dead man got up and walked…and because he did we will too.

    That is something other than rational…

  13. Michael says:

    Jesus said that He is the truth, so everything I think about my faith is rooted in what I know about Jesus.

    I’m one of those damnable “red letter”Christians who place a much higher priority on His words than the rest of Scripture.

    Jesus said that if we’ve seen him we’ve seen the father, so everything I know about God is what I know about Jesus.

    I do not need certainty about anything except Jesus…and I’m quite certain about Him…although I will have questions and complaints upon meeting Him.

    My imagination says that all those questions and complaints will be forgotten when I see Him holding my cats and welcoming me home.

  14. Officerhoppy says:

    I appreciate you taking time to respond.

    But the Jesus you love and the creed you (and I) appreciate all come from the same source…the Bible…which according to Enns, the understanding or interpretation, have changed over the years.

    I don’t know that have the confidence any more to place my life on something and someone,I have so many questions about.

    I’ve tried to make, as you’ve said so many times, on Jesus. But he’s been a major no show in my life and especially my ministry.

    I dunno. I’m an idiot

  15. Michael says:


    “But the Jesus you love and the creed you (and I) appreciate all come from the same source…the Bible…which according to Enns, the understanding or interpretation, have changed over the years.”

    Yes, but believers in all the ages have affirmed the creed…and Jesus.

    “I don’t know that have the confidence any more to place my life on something and someone,I have so many questions about.”

    Do you have a better option?

    “At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

    Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.””
    (John 6:66–69 NLT-SE)

    I get it…God has not affirmed His reality by performing signs and wonders in my life either.

    He did give me the perfect ministry for a cantankerous introvert…here online and in the few people I have in person.

    I have no complaints there.

    I wish He would heal me and even more ,heal my friends…I could use a few extra bucks and the future looks grim.

    But…I’ve met Him and tasted that He is good when life isn’t and I believe He’ll keep His promises…when I get home He’ll wipe away the tears with one hand and the cat fur off His robe with the other…all things will be well.

    Getting there will still be a bitch, but I don’t have that much farther to go…

  16. Officerhoppy says:

    I haven’t “cursed God and died”.

    I still am hanging in there
    I think you’ve been where I am. I truly am happy that you’ve landed where you are now.
    But I can’t preach Him with any conviction or passion anymore

    It’s difficult parsing thru the real Jesus and the Jesus of one’s ideal. There is so much B.S about God and Christ coming from His followers that just isn’t true.

    Any way, I’ll shut up.

    Thanks for your input Michael. I get what you are saying. But I’m still stuck

  17. Michael says:


    Life is really difficult and painful right now…and has been for a long time.

    I had to make that reality coherent with my faith.

    The only way forward was to be open to learning new ways to think about the Bible that didn’t create massive cognitive dissonance with my life.

    I’m still learning…still “orthodox”…and I think I have enough gas in the tank to get home.

    That’s my prayer for everyone struggling to get through…

  18. Officerhoppy says:


    That’s a good prayer

  19. Em says:

    Officerhoppy, nothing is more rational than a belief in a Creator…. IMNSHO

  20. Terry says:

    I was looking for a podcast that would have a brief overview of two Old Testament books, like The Bible Project does. My books were Ezra and Nehemiah. The first podcast I listened to was 100% #5 on your list. Absolutely no nuance. It claimed the books were just about “Obedience”. Not saying the books aren’t about obedience, but it was so boring and expected that it made me angry.

    The second source I found was good, so I’ll name them: The BEMA Podcast. Very #1, but with some #2-4 thrown in as well. I’ve gone back to listen from the beginning on my daily walks

  21. Michael says:


    It’s interesting to be able to compare what we hear with these interpretative modes…I think it adds to the learning process.

  22. Officerhoppy says:

    I appreciate your perspective but Jesus asked us to live by faith. Faith is seldom rational.

    Rationality is not my concern. It’s Truth.

    Even faith is connected to the truth

  23. Janet Linn, BrideofChrist says:

    I went through a ‘crisis of faith’ after the loss of my 30 year teaching career, concurrent with my husband’s loss of his 30 year management career. I had a ‘transactional’ understanding of God, taught by the Calvary Chapel I attended for 30 plus years. They taught us that if you tithe, and you serve ( I taught Sunday school as well as teaching in public schools, and my husband was in music ministry) that God would bless you in material and obvious, earthly ways. It is false teaching. God isn’t in the box that Calvary Chapel tries to put him in. My Calvary wasn’t very interested in us when things fell apart for us, because we didn’t prove their ‘health, wealth, and prosperity’ message. My crisis of faith ended when I realized that Calvary Chapel had misrepresented Jesus. I look to the Jesus of the Bible now, not Calvary Chapel’s misrepresentation of Jesus. Anyone having a crisis of faith needs to go back to the Bible to find the real Jesus. I guess I’m a red letter Christian now as well! Jesus’s words are true and always will be!

  24. Officerhoppy says:

    Janet Linn
    I think that’s my issue: that Jesus and what it means to be a Christian is misrepresented.

    I am often times, reminded of the old Tv show “To Tell the Truth”, “will the real Jesus please stand up

    Many Americans worship a Jesus that never existed, or of their own imagination, or, a Jesus who resembles the American dream more than the Jesus of history. Like

    “(As a doctor said to a patient) “good news! We don’t have to operate on you. Your families prayers healed you” or “The bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.” Or, “ God never gives you more than you can handle” or “Try Jesus. If you don’t like him Satan will always take you back” or “ Jesus is coming back soon… and boy, is he gonna be pissed”

    I’m searching for the real Jesus. Don’t know if I’ll ever find him.

  25. Michael says:


    I fail to see the relevance of what other people think about Jesus.

    There is the biblical record and the historical witness of the church…I could care less what Americans do with all that.

  26. Em says:

    Offiverhoppy @ 516
    TRUTH and FAITH?? good point

  27. Muff Potter says:

    I too hold to the parameters of The Apostle’s Creed as non-negotiable, up-front and on the table.
    The rest of the stuff?
    I pick and choose as I see fit.

  28. Officerhoppy says:

    I don’t know what to believe. I thought I had it all figured out and became a pastor. But it’s all become confusing

    When I fist came to Christ I was told I needed to speak in tongues to be filled with the HS. They used scripture to prove their point

    Then I became part of CC and thought I’d learned to read the Bible. But there are those who tell me I read it improperly

    I thought any one could come to Christ, but my Calvinist friends told me he only saves and died for the elect

    I am an evangelical, but there are those who say that’s not right

    I used to believe in the rapture but further study made me question that

    My point is, I don’t know what to believe or if there is anything to believe in.

    In some respects, I feel like, in my confusion, that I’ve lost a good friend. But now I don’t know if I ever really had a relationship. I’d convince he was real and concerned with me. But I wonder, now, if he even exists

    I don’t recall any thing meaningful happening between me and God that wasn’t more about having a positive mental attitude and not wanting to trust Him, and thank him rather than the work of God.

    I just don’t know what to believe

  29. Scott Matson says:

    Officerhoppy – I’m one of the pastors at Jacksonville Pres, and used to be on staff at Applegate…so you and I have some shared experience. If you’d ever like to sit down over a cup of coffee or a good meal, I’m down. I may not have much “new” to give, but I’m happy to be a listening ear. Either way, may the grace and peace of Jesus be with you.

    Michael – longtime reader, first-time commenter. Thank you for the site and your voice. Praying for your peace in these difficult days.

  30. Michael says:


    Nice to meet you…I’m always shocked when I find that a local person is a reader…and pleased.
    Thanks for the kind words…don’t be a stranger.

  31. Officerhoppy says:

    Scott is a good man. I’ve seen him at Jville Pres

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading