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The Journey and Grasping God’s Word

The Interpretive Journey is actually a blueprint for this book. First we have looked at an overview of Bible translation and how we got the English Bible (unit 1). In the next units, we will focus on how to observe and read the biblical text carefully. We start with smaller, simpler units of text and then move on to more complex and longer units of text.

Then we spend time discussing contexts, both theirs (the ancient audience) and ours (the modern readers). We first explore historical and cultural contexts. Next we probe into the issue of preunderstanding (i.e., our context). Then we examine literary context. We wrap up this unit by learning how to do word studies within these contexts. All of these units give us skills necessary to get our feet firmly planted into Step 1.

Next we focus on the theory needed to identify and construct the principlizing bridge, to cross over the river of differences, and to grasp the meaning of the text in a way that changes our lives in the world today. We deal with what meaning is and who controls it (author or reader?), and then delve into some issues related to the theological principle and the concept of meaning. Are there deeper levels of meaning? Is there one meaning or numerous meanings for a passage? We explore the role of the Holy Spirit in this whole interpretive process. Step 5 (application) is the next focus, helping us to move on from head knowledge to actual life-changing behavior. In other words, while in unit 2 we have introduced the Journey to you, the next several units expand on the journey, describing in more detail the interpretive issues you will face along the way.

Then we focus on how to take the Interpretive Journey within the New Testament. In this unit we leave the theoretical discussions and move into the actual practice of interpreting and applying the New Testament. We teach you how to take the Journey with passages from different types or genres of New Testament literature.

Finally, we address some of the specific challenges and opportunities of interpreting and applying the Old Testament. First, in the introduction, we refine the steps of the journey to fit the Old Testament situation more closely. Then we teach you how to take the Interpretive Journey with passages from the different types of Old Testament genres.

Are you ready to move forward into the exciting realm of interpretation and application? There are lots of interesting biblical passages ahead of you. Work hard! The rewards are great.

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