Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Understanding the Bible

1. Is the passage literal, figurative or symbolic?
2. Is there a cultural context that I need to understand in order for the words to make sense to me?
3. Who was the intended audience for the passage? i.e. Jews, Gentiles, etc.?
4. Is there a hidden message or double (parallel) meaning?
5. Is there an "inside joke", meaning the speaker and receiver know something I don't.
6. Is the passage prophetic?
7. Does the passage refer to the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD.
8. Does the passage refer to end times?
9. Does the passage refer to a prophecy already fulfilled?
10. Does my understanding of the passage harmonize with other passages?
11. Does my understanding of the passage harmonize with the attributes of God?
12. Is there disagreement among Biblical scholars with regard to the passage?
13. Does my understanding of the passage help me love God more or gain more insight into how much God loves me?
14. Does my understanding of the passage help me love others more?
15. Is there evidence on how the early church applied this passage?
16. Do the key words mean the same now as when it was written?
17. Am I certain about the meaning of key words or phrases in the passage, i.e. weak translation or confusing language.
18. Does my understanding of the passage fit into context for the book, for the author, for the Gospel?
19. Do I only find contextual harmony by picking and choosing from “supporting” scriptures – picking proof texts?
20. Is the passage a parable?
21. Am I willing to change my mind about what I thought it meant?
22. Is the passage old covenant (the Law) or new covenant (Grace).

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