PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION
PI 215
Mark Moore, Ph.D.
Office: 624-2518 x2711
markmoore@occ.edu

Test 1 (Context) | Word Studies | Test 3 (Genre)

Bible Study Websites

Principles Notebook

Projects | PowerPoints | Textbook | Schedule | Grades | Policies | Essential Reading | Objectives


POWERPOINTS:

Intro 1, 2, 3, 4 | Context | History | Words | Grammar | Parallels | Application | Parables | Figures


Course Description

This is an introductory course on the principles of interpreting language. Students learn both general and specific principles required to interpret and apply the Bible accurately. Prerequisite DO 125 Christ and the Bible.


Lesson: On 12/6 each student will turn in a lesson plan/outline of their text. This lesson has to be taught in a church setting and supervised by a staff member or elder of the church. The outline must be signed and dated by that leader, verifying when and to whom you taught the lesson.

Text Books: Mark E. Moore, Seeing God in HD (College Press, 2008). In addition, each student will need to purchase Logos Bible Software (at a 50% discount after enrollment). This is an investment in your future Bible study and should be viewed as a lifetime investment.

Overnight Assignments:
These brief assignments will help you (a) apply what you are learning in lectures to actual Biblical texts and (b) walk you step by step through your exegetical project. All projects are worth 1 point unless otherwise marked. They should take approximate one hour unless otherwise noted.

  1. Make a preliminary list of questions and observations on your passage. (1) Print out your text triple space and scribble all over it the observations, questions, outline, connections, contrasts, key words, figures of speech, flow of thought, etc. (2) Type out your Questions & Observations in two separate lists divided by verse numbers. Here are the kinds of things to look for:  Literary patterns, repetition, contrasts/comparisons, lists, cause/effect, conclusions, figures of speech, conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns, questions asked. Who wrote this? To whom? Why? What was going on politically, socially inside and outside the church? How does this section connect in its literary context? Are there any contradictions or apparent mistakes? If this section of scripture were not here what would be missing in the text?  How does this text fit into the overall flow and purpose of the book?  Why did the author choose this strategy of writing?  What is the tone of the passage? (2 points)

  2. Find three outlines of your book. Merge them into one outline, adjusting their differences as you determine best. Then expand the outline at your text to show the specific details of the passage. Your outline should not have more than 3-5 major headings, or more than 3-5 minor headings under any given point. Include the chapter and verse references alongside each point of the outline. Second, state the theme or purpose of your book in a sentence or two. Third, in a paragraph or two, explain how your passage fits into the flow of the book. Duvall & Hays, pp. 129-30 (on Reserve) is a helpful guide. (1 points)

  3. Complete the "Study in Context" found in your notebook (p. 7). (1 point)

  4. Answer the following questions and give an explanation or justification for each answer: Who is the author? When was the book written? To whom was the book written? Under what circumstances or events was the book written? Commentary introductions are good sources for this information. (2 points)

  5. Write a brief paragraph on each item in your passage that Logos Bible Software identifies through "Bible Things" and "Bible Places". You will also want to independently investigate items pertaining to sociology and/or anthropology. (2 points)

  6. Print out a text comparison of your passage with Logos Bible Software using five versions minimum. Include the Greek or Hebrew if you can. Highlight your 3-5 major words in yellow and your 5-10 minor words in orange. What makes for a major word study? (1) Words that seem to be pivotal for the meaning of your passage. (2) Words repeated in your text. (3) Theologically loaded words. (4) Perplexing or unclear words and figures of speech. (1 point)

  7. Do a major word study on one of the words in your text.  Follow the guidelines of a word study as given in class.  Underline the single sentence that most clearly defines your word as used in the context of the passage. (4 points)

  8. Make a transitional word chart for your passage, using the model found in your notebook (p. 28). (1 point)

  9. Make a mechanical layout of your text.  Bold the subject of the sentence and underline the main verb.  Place a bracket around any connective words and prepositional phrases (or put them on a separate line altogether). Use arrows to show any logical connections between the various parts of the sentence.  Insert comments in the margin about significant syntactical and grammatical features.  At the bottom, in a sentence or two, explain how this pericope is connected to the one before and the one following it. (2 points)

  10. Write a commentary on your text using nothing but parallel passages. This is not a comprehensive commentary, but one which addresses specific theological issues that arise either from words/phrases or from ideas in your text. Each theological subject should be treated separately in its own paragraph like the earlier project of Historical Background. Think in terms of 50-100 passages quoted, cited, or summarized through statistics. (2 points)

  11. Fill out the "Exercise in Application" chart found in your notebook (pp. 36-38). (1 point)

  12. Make an application chart. Label the columns "me" "my church" and "the church universal," label the rows "head," "hand," "heart". Below the chart, make a numbered list of (very) specific applications.  Then write each number in one of the nine boxes of the chart where it belongs (2 points)

  13. Fill out the "Exercise in Figures of Speech" found in your notebook (p. 78). (1 point)

Exegetical Project. You will complete an inductive study of a passage which you will choose from the list on the following page. You will work on this passage as your laboratory for the practice of the principles, methods and resources covered in class. Your paper should be typed and double-spaced. It will contain 10 sections, each starting on a new page as described below. Sample projects are available on my reserve shelf at the front desk of the library. You will need to use a 3 ring binder with index tab dividers.

  1. Observation/Questions: (a) The first page of your project should be a printed copy of your text analyzed following the model in HD. (b) List all the observations and question you can make about your passage answering as many questions as possible.  Identify the verse(s) with each question and observation. (5 pts; 2-4 pp.; Assignment #1)

  2. Context: (a) Make an outline of the book. (b) State the theme of the book in a sentence or two--its basic message. (c) In a paragraph or two describe how your passage fits into the theme/message of the book as a whole and also how it connects to the passages that precede and follow it. (d) Describe the genre of your passage and any special hermeneutical considerations that might entail. (10 pts; 1-3 pp.; Assignment #2)

  3. Historical Setting: (a) External: Investigate the historical background of the text (date, author, origin [where it was written from], and occasion [the situation or events that prompted its writing])  [Assignment #4]. (b) Internal: Relate any historical facts that bear on the interpretation of the passage (history, culture, geography) [Assignment #5]. (10 pts; 2-3 pp.)

  4. Words: (a) Present your translation chart, identifying major and minor word studies [Assignment #6]. (b) Present 3-5 major word studies [Assignment #7]. (c) Present 5-10 minor word studies (1 paragraph each--give a basic definition, number of uses, significant clusters, synonyms, etc.). (d) Identify any figures of speech or idioms and explain their meaning [see notebook pp. 64-77 and Assignment #13]. (15 points; 5-8 pp.)

  5. Sentences: (a) Present your mechanical display or a full diagram of your entire passage.  Analyze the grammatical and logical force of the sentences. (b) Present your connective word chart [Assignment #8]. (c) In a paragraph or two describe any significant grammatical structures or difficulties such as word order, verb tense, syntax, conditional clauses, conjunctions and/or negatives, or textual variants. The Logos exegetical guide 'grammar' will provide you with the resources for this section. (10 pts; 2-4 pp.)

  6. Parallels: Write a commentary on your text using nothing but parallel passages which synthesizes the Bible's teaching on the various theological topics that arise in your text [Assignment #10]. Each theological subject should be treated separately in its own paragraph.  (10 pts; 1-3 pp.)

  7. Commentaries: Takes notes from at least five commentaries on your passage.  Identify the author of the commentary and the pages you used. (5 pts; 2-5 pp.)

  8. Explanation: Write a commentary on your passage using all of your previous research. Begin with a one-page synthesis which summarizes the theology and significance of your text. Then expand this one page into a thorough exegetical commentary, complete with an introduction to the external historical background relevant to your text. Here is where you truly show your understanding of the passage and the fruit of your research. (20 pts; 8-10 pp.)

  9. Interpretive Paraphrase: Reword the text in your own vernacular.  As clearly and as accurately as possible restate what the author intended to say. (5 pts; 1 p.)

  10. Application: Show how the truth in the passage relates to our lives today: (1) Yourself, (2) your church, (3) the church universal.  Be specific! Identify any items in the text which would be faith vs. opinions.  Show how to live this text today! (10 pts; 2-4 pp.; Assignment #12)

 

TEXTS FOR THE EXEGETICAL PROJECT:

You will choose one of these texts by signing a sheet that will be passed around in class. Choose carefully, you will spend a lot of time with this passage this semester.

*Genesis 2:4-24

Genesis 19:1-26

Exodus 32:9-20

Deuteronomy 30:11-20

2 Chronicles 32:9-23

*Psalm 2

*Psalm 110

*Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

*Isaiah 53

*Joel 2:28-32

Ezekial 37:1-14

Matthew 5:1-12

Matthew 13:10-17

*Matthew 16:21-28

*Matthew 17:1-13

Matthew 21:1-11

*Matthew 27:45-54

Mark 14:32-42

*Luke 5:1-11

*Luke 11:1-13

*Luke 16:19-31

*Luke 24:1-12

John 6:44-59

*John 12:1-11

*John 16:5-16

*Acts 2:14-21

*Acts 15:13-29

*Romans 6:1-14

*Romans 11:25-36

*Romans 12:1-8

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Ephesians 4:1-13

I Thessalonians 4:13-5:3

*I Timothy 3:1-11

Hebrews 1:1-14

*Hebrews 6:1-6

Hebrews 10:1-10

*James 5:13-20

*2 Peter 3:1-13

 


TEXTBOOK:

Mark E. Moore, Seeing God in HD (College Press, 2008).


SCHEDULE:

Date

Topic

Project

Reading

Date

Topic

Project

Reading

8/23

Intro

 

 

10/18

Application

P11

HD 8

8/24

 

 

 

10/19

 

 

 

8/25

 

 

HD 1

10/20

 

P12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/30

 

P1

HD 2

10/25

Narrative

 

HD A

8/31

 

 

 

10/26

Law/Wisdom

 

 

9/1

Context

 

HD 3

10/27

Gospel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/6

 

P2

 

11/1

Acts

 

 

9/7

 

P3

 

11/2

Epistle

 

 

9/8

Hist. Setting

 

HD 4

11/3

Poetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/13

 

P4

 

11/8

 

 

 

9/14

 

P5

 

11/9

Prophecy

 

 

9/15

TEST #1

 

 

11/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/20

Words

P6

HD 5

11/15

 

 

 

9/21

Faith Forum

 

 

11/16

Final Project Prep

 

 

9/22

 

 

 

11/17

PROJECT DUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/27

 

P7

 

11/22

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

9/28

 

 

 

11/23

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

9/29

Grammar

P8

HD 6

11/24

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/4

 

 

 

11/29

Parables

 

 

10/5

 

 

 

11/30

 

 

 

10/6

 

P9

 

12/1

TEST #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/11

Parallels

 

HD 7

12/6

Figures

 

Lesson

10/12

 

P10

 

12/7

 

P13

 

10/13

Test #2

 

 

12/8

 

 

 




GRADES:
 
Assignments 20%; Exegetical Project 40%; Tests 25%; Final 10%; Lesson 5%


CLASS POLICIES:
  1. You are responsible Christian adults and will be treated as such. This means (a) that as cherished brothers and sisters in Christ your contribution to the classroom will be treated with respect and (b) you will be held accountable for the work you have contracted to complete.

  2. Late Work unacceptable. All work is due at the beginning of class on the day it is due. If you are absent, you are still responsible for having your work brought to class and turned in for you.

  3. All work is to be typed unless otherwise noted.

  4. Exams. If you should miss an examination for a legitimate reason you can take it in the Testing Center (L12) after paying a $5 charge in the business. You will have exactly one week to the class period in which to make up the exam.

  5. Cheating will result in a zero on the assignment in question and a mandatory meeting with the dean of students to determine further discipline which may include failure in the class or dismissal from the college. Cheating includes but is not limited to (1) using material from another student for tests, memory, or term papers, (2) not properly citing sources in papers and assignments so as to make it look original, (3) using cheat sheets – written or electronic – for tests or quizzes.



College Mission

The ultimate mission of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The immediate mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service through an undergraduate Bible college education.

College Learning Objectives (CLO)

This course most directly addresses CLO 1, 3, and 4.

  1. Know sound doctrine from the Word of God. (Biblical Doctrine)
  2. Understand evidences for the basis of faith in Christ and the Bible. (Apologetics)
  3. Interpret the Bible to understand the author's intended meaning. (Hermeneutics)
  4. Demonstrate an intellectual development for critical thinking and lifelong learning. (Intellect)
  5. Communicate effectively in written and oral forms. (Communication)
  6. Display a personal growth in Christian character and fellowship with Christ. (Devotion)
  7. Apply a variety of skills for leading others to Christ, helping them mature in Christ, and equipping them to serve Christ. (Evangelism & Discipleship)
     

General Studies Area Objectives (GSAO)

This course most directly addresses GSAO 2.

  1. Practice the principles of clear thinking and effective written and oral communication.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles, methods and tools of interpretation that can be applied to the Bible and to any piece of literature.   
  3. Manifest knowledge of the relationship of Christianity to the history of the western civilization.         
  4. Identify geographical locations important to an understanding of biblical history.        
  5. Understand key contemporary worldviews and be able to explain and defend the Christian worldview.                                   
  6. Develop proficiency in the use of Biblical languages so he or she can gain the best possible understanding of the word of God, provided the BTh program is elected.                                

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Develop confidence in and a habit of the inductive Bible study.  [CLO 1, 3 & 4 and GSAO 2]
  2. Develop an understanding of how language works and how meaning is delivered from the communicator to his/her recipient.  [CLO 3 & 4 and GSAO 2 & 6]
  3. Be able to identify various genre and their unique characteristics of interpretation.  [CLO 3 & 4 and GSAO 2]
  4. Learn how to apply the Bible to contemporary culture as well as our own daily lives.  [CLO 1, 3, & 4 and GSAO 2]


ESSENTIAL READING IN HERMENEUTICS

Black, David & Dockery, David (Eds). New Testament Criticism and Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991. (This volume is particularly helpful with higher criticism and modem hermeneutical developments).

 Bray, Gerald.  Biblical Interpretation Past and Present. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1996. (Extremely thorough coverage of the history of interpretation. Especially helpful with names and bibliography).

Carson, D. A. Exegetical Fallacies (2nd Edition).Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster, 1996.

Carson, D. A., and Woodbridge, John D. Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. (This work deals especially with philosophical issues of authority, reliability and inspiration of Scripture).

Danker, Frederick W. Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993, 2003. (This single volume critiques the best Bible Study tools – concordances, commentaries, dictionaries, etc.)

Duvall, J. Scott & Hays, J. Daniel. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. (This excellent text walks students through the steps of basic hermeneutics and genre).

Farrar, F. W. History of Interpretation.  Grand Rapids: Baker (reprint), 1886. (Probably the classic on the history of Bible interpretation. Very thorough, filled with great tidbits of information).

Fee, Gordon & Stuart, Douglas.  How to Read the Bible for All it's Worth (Second Edition).  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993. (The best book for a brief look at the genres of the Bible.)

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. New York: Seabury, 1975. (Argues philosophically that the reader brings himself to the text and rather than understanding the author, s/he fuses their “horizon” with his or her own.)

Grant, Robert M., and Tracy, David.  A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. (Quite readable history of interpretation).

Hirsch, E. D. Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967. (Classic defense of the author’s intended meaning.)

Kaiser, Walter and Moises Silva, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan 1994. (These two conservative authors mostly agree, but their important disagreements allow the readers to study hermeneutics from a dialogical perspective.)

Klein, William; Blomberg, Craig; Hubbard, Robert.  Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.  Dallas: Word, 1993. (The best work in the field of historical/grammatical hermeneutics, but sometimes quite difficult and advanced).

Kuhatschek, Jack. Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990. (This little book sets up a helpful model for drawing principles from the text and applying them in relevant ways to contemporary situations).

McQuilkin, J. Robertson. Understanding and Applying the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1983. (Standard text on the historical/grammatical method).

Osborne, Grant R. Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1991. (This is a weighty work showing the interplay between the text, author and interpreter in the process of interpretation).

Rhodes, Ron. The Complete Guide to Bible Translations. Eugene: Harvester House Publishers, 2009. (This is the most recent guide to modern English translations of the Bible).

Silva, Moises.  Has the Church Misread the Bible? (The history of interpretation in the light of current issues,) Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987. (Clear demonstration of the contemporary importance of hermeneutics).

Sire, James, W. Scripture Twisting. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1980.

Thistleton, Anthony. The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980.

Wilson, Seth; and Gardner, Lynn.  Learning From God's Word. Joplin: College Press, 1989. (A brief primer on historical/grammatical hermeneutics).

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Is There a Meaning in This Text. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998. (A very powerful analysis of the challenge of Deconstruction. His response is a theology of hermeneutics based upon the person of God).

Zuck, Roy. Basic Bible Interpretation. USA --Victor Books, 1991. (An excellent introductory guide for historical grammatical hermeneutics. Written from a Baptist perspective).







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