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Biblical Interpretation Genre Test
Religious Studies
Undergraduate 1

Additional Religious Studies Flashcards




4 General Rules
  1. The more difficult reading is favored over easier one (text)- this is taken care of through the translation
  2. You have to understand what the author meant in order to understand what it means
  3. Scripture interprets scripture
  4. Do not allegorize (few exceptions)
Epistles: What is it?
Epistles: What are the 11 Rules
  1. The text cannot mean what it never could have meant to the author or the original readers
  2. Notice the character of the letter or ad hoc (off the cuff, less formal)? Occasional (addressing specific situation, believing false teachers, wrong teaching)?
  3. Notice the parts of the letters: is your passage part of the greeting, thanksgiving, etc, closing
  4. Notice the rhetorical tool the writer is using (means of arguing or persuading) questions, ways the writer is engaging the reader
  5. Pay attention to the historical context
  6. Identify and understand the audience: various regions represented? Diversity? Non-Christians?
  7. Identify keywords: observe repetition
  8. Notice the literary context (written letter/passage, what comes before and after)
  9. Discover the particulars (details) of the situation
  10. When we share particulars with the original audience, the message to us is the same as the message to them. But if it differs from scriptural time, we must apply the message/principle that needs to be applied
  11. Distinguish between principle and application, prescription (scripture telling us what to do) and description (scripture tells us how/when to apply the Word)
Epistles: What do we mean when we ask if we share particulars with the original audience?
the message to us is the same as the message to them. But if it differs from scriptural time, we must apply the message/principle that needs to be applied
Epistles: What's the difference between prescription and description?

prescription (scripture telling us what to do) and description (scripture tells us how/when to apply the Word)


Prescription(a doctor tellings us what medicine to take)

Description(how to take the medicine)

Epistles: What are the "rhetorical tools"?
Questions, means of arguing or persuading
Narrative: 3 levels of meaning of OT Narratives
  1. Individual and Family Stories  (about Joseph)
  2. Israel (about Joseph, his brothers, God setting up his people to make it through a famine)
  3. God (ultimately all about Him) 
  • Demonstrate God's involvement in the world
    • Looking for "what is this story telling us about God"
  • Illustrate His principles and character
Narrative: Who is each OT story about?
Narrative: Explain the benefits of using Character Exploration
It helps us see the passage through the eyes of each character and therefore gain a better understanding of what it meant to the original audience
Historical Precedent: What does this term mean?
  • Seeing a pattern in historical narrative that lets you predict what should happen (what should be norm/expected)
    • We see via pattern that it should be norm today (normative)
Historical Precedent: Why is it an issue in Pentecostal hermeneutics?
  • Biblical basis for doctrine of tongues as the initial, physical evidence of Baptism in the HS
    • Comes from passages in Acts and that notes the evidence of the Spirit is speaking in tongues
  • Some say it is a misuse of the genre to derive doctrine from a narrative, that it should only come from explicit teachings (Acts illustrates doctrine, but should not have doctrine derived from it)
  • Should not get doctrine from stories
  • Narratives were used for teaching in the cultural context of Scripture
  • There are limits: vague narratives should be interpreted in light of clear Scripture (to say that historical narrative has no doctrinal value goes against how we see it used)
  • Prior to Day of Pentecost, the activity of the HS is evidenced by prophetic speech (Mary and Elizabeth beyond)
  • Acts gives repeated examples (there's a repeated pattern, not an isolated story). Starts pre- day of Pentecost and it happens more than once
  • No other initial evidence is recorded (narratives don't give us any other evidence- there's a pattern established, but not contradicted. There's only one experience that doesn't say they had speaking in tongues...)
  • That tongues is the only initial, physical evidence is NOT stated
  • There is simply no other option given
    • How we should do baptism is derived from historical narratives
OT Law: 5 Descriptive points about OT Law
  • OT is a covenant
    • Covenant was a recognized relationship. Covenant relationships included a person with more resources and a person who was the beneficiary
  • OT is not our testament/covenant (still is relevant)
    • I am a Gentile… don't have to become a Jew to be "God's people" I am part of the new covenant
  • Some OT stipulations are not renewed
  • Some OT covenant stipulations are renewed
    • Parts of the new covenant. Often the ones that have to do with relationships (with God and one another)
  • Still God's Word to us even though it is not His command to us
    • Gentiles do not have to become Jews
    • We have to discover what God is telling us about Himself - he is inviting us to be in relationship with Him, he tells us our obligations and his obligations to us
OT Law: 3 Types of Law (know what the names and describe each)
  • Casuistic Law - specific
    • Applies generalized law to specific situations (in case A, this is what it looks like; in case B, this is what it looks like…) - we still use this today
    • "if, then" clause. If this is the situation, then this is how we apply the law. If a man, if a woman, if a family does X, then we have to do Y… verbiage usually written in third person.
    • Case law
    • Applies general law to specific situations
    • Characteristics:
      • If/then
      • Third person
  • Apodictic Law - absolute, not specific
    • Absolute laws, no situational applications
    • Characteristics:
      • Orders
      • No exceptions given
      • Personal address
    • Types:
      • Prohibitions
      • Admonition
      • Participle
    • Law of Retaliation
    • Written as orders or commands
    • You do not see exceptions written in the law
    • Personal address: Often a first person (I) addressing a second person (you). "I command you to do this."
      • Prohibitions - what you shouldn't do -  Ex 20:13
      • Admonition - statement of something you should do - Ex 20:12
      • Participle - capital crimes of murder - there are not exceptions mentioned - Ex 21:12
      • Law of retaliation - law that is formed or worded as a personal address, what to do in the case of pre-meditated crimes that cause bodily harm to another person - principles to apply
  • Legal Series - may be written in Apodictic form, often written with poetic structure
    • Apodictic series: often poetic
      • 10 Commandments
    • Casuistic laws are usually more complex, grouped topically
OT Law: 9 Rules for Interpreting
  • The Law is the guidelines for living in covenant relationship with Yahweh
    • God has obligations
    • The people have obligations
  • Covenant is key
  • Application is crucial
  • It is a framework for ethical and moral living
  • Look for the underlying principle and apply that
    • Historical background gives clues
    • Ex: boiling goat in it's mother's milk = that was a common thing among those who worshipped other gods. God was saying don't act like them.
  • Christ fulfilled the Law
  • Is this law revoked in the NT or renewed and applied to followers of Jesus?
    • Is it revoked and not renewed in NT, then we need to work on getting the principle
    • If it is renewed in NT - ex: "love the Lord you God with all your heart…"
  • Immediate literary context is the laws around it
  • Original cultural context
Difficult Passages: How do we know when we're dealing with a Difficult passage?
When the passage is controversial, difficult to apply; difficult to understand; or difficult for your audience to understand.
Difficult Passages: 6 Steps for Interpreting
  • Read in MORE quality translations (more than two, in addition to your first)
  • Ask more of your own questions (more than 8 questions)
  • Ask your audience's questions (look at it through the lens of their eyes, what will be confusing to them?)
  • Use more quality resources (more word dictionaries, backgrounds, intros, more than minimum required)
  • Research historical and cultural background of the passage
    • Probably has layers of historical background that you need to know - read entire books about the background/cultural setting
  • Analyze the grammar and structure by making a diagram/chart
Gospels: What are the two types of context to be concerned about?
  1. Literary (what is around the passage)
  2. Sitz im Leben (means situation in life)
Gospels: Name ALL the layers of Both sets of concentric circles of context.
  1. 7 layers of circles. Middle/ 1st layer –Passage/Pericope: 2nd layer –chapter: 3rd –Section of the Gospel: 4th –book (how Passage fit in purpose of book it’s in): 5th layer –other Gospels: 6th –New Testament: 7th –Bible as a whole.
  2. Sitz im Leben Concentric Circles. (4 Layers) middle/1st: Jesus’ intentions. 2nd Hearers and observers. 3rd Author of the Gospel. 4th original readers of the Gospel.
Gospels: What is a pericope?
A Passage
Gospels: Name the prescribed questions you should ask when your dealing with a gospel passage.
  1. (1) Author: his intended purpose?
  2. (2) Who received the gospel originally? (Jews or Gentiles. Non Christians or Christians?)
  3. (3) Who was present at the event? (remember when we were talking about the pigs…. Were the disciples there or not?)
  4. (4) What did Jesus probably intend to do?
Parables: Define
  1. Is an extended simile. = a comparison, using like or as, true to real life
Parables: 2 Types
  1. True Parables
  2. Similitudes (illustrations from daily life) (so no like or as)


Parables: 3 Points for interpreting parables
  1. Most important question: what is this story’s function?

  i.      Story parables call for a response (from the hearers)

  ii.      Parabolic sayings illustrate Jesus’ teaching

    1. Find the points of reference:

  i.      What will the audience recognize? (inside their Sitz im Leben) (the good Samaritan: the danger of the Journey.)

 ii.      What will surprise the audience? (outside their Sitz im Leben) (the surprise: the person who stopped was a Samaritan. A considerable investment that the Samaritan did. Certain upright people passed him by. He had blood –unclean)

iii.      (So the impact of the Samaritan parable is the love ur neighbor ppl who we don’t want to notice, people….. Jesus is saying forget about the rules)

    1. kingdom Parables: point refers to KoG (kingdom of God)

                                                               i.      the kingdom is coming

1.      the kingdom is present

    1. KoG is also key for interpreting the Gospels.
Parables: prescribed Questions
  1. 1) What comes before this parable in the chapter?
  2. 2) What comes after this parable in the chapter?
  3. 3) Who was Jesus talking to?
  4. 4) What is the purpose of this book?
  5. 5) Who was the intended audience for this book?
  6. 6) What would Jesus’ audience understand ot be surprised by?
  7. 7) What word pictures do we have?
  8. 8) What kind of Parable is this? (true or similitude?
Poetry: Define
Sparse, structured language which artfully communicated a point, emotion, or other message

Poetry: Characteristics


  • Structure (the overall lay) is governed by the poetic line, not paragraph or grammar
  • Tightly-packed language - does not include a lot of extra words
  • Rhythm and sound impact structure - there's a sound element to sound poetry
    • There's a certain sound, but it CAN get lost in the translation, so a good commentary can help us find that again
  • Concrete images portray abstract ideas
    • Concrete images are used to show us things like concepts, emotions
  • Language is meant to evoke emotion or experience
    • Adjectives (describe nouns) dominate poetic language
Poetry: 3 Elements: name and describe them
  • Sound - of the words, based on rhythm (rarely on rhyme)
  • Structure - particularly the 2 line (couplet) structure
  • Language - using patterns


Poetry: Types of sounds
  • Assonance
    • Vowels rhyme
    • Penitent and reticence - the vowels rhyme
      • "that dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea" - William Butler Yeats
  • Alliteration
    • Repetition of consonants or consonant sound
    • In biblical poetry, often hinging on a key word
      • You use the same letter, so you keep going back to it
    • Uses
      • First letter: uses same consonant sound
        • Apt alliteration's artful aid
        • Long-lived
      • Repeating a sound through a parallel - full sound of word
        • From stem to stern
      • Combine with assonance
        • Jer 1:10, "to destroy and demolish" (translators found words that give the right sound)
        • Opening of Hebrews, "many times and in many ways, long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets"
      • Pun:  using similar sounds to contrast and play on the words
        • "that's so punny" - it sounds like "funny"
      • Onomatopoeia: words that sound like the thing they describe
        • Bee makes the sound "buzzz" so we call it buzzing
        • Pop sounds like the sound it makes
        • Clap, clang


Poetry: Parallelism (what a line is called)
  • Lines are A, B, etc. to show correspondence
  • If correspondence is contrast, the second line is -A, -B, etc.


Roses are red, violets are blue


But you have not flowers 'cause I am broke

  • Echo: A and B are interchangeable - Matt 11:30 "for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
  • Explanation: A is explained by B - Ps 111:6; Ex 15:21
  • Completion: A introduces idea, B completes it - Isaiah 40:9
    • Comparison - Ps 103:13
    • Specification - Is 45:12 (when B gives more specific info)
    • Intensification - Deut 32:30 (when B is more pointed/extreme than A)
Poetry: Parallelism (3 Types of parallelsim)
  • Parallelism (most common form)
  • Grammatical structure of each line corresponds to the other
  • Stair steps - Ps 57:8
    • Basic to fundamental or to more developed
  • Chiasm - Rom 2:6-11, prominent in book of Jeremiah

      • A-B-C-B-A
      • A-B-C-C-B-A
      • Points are almost always in the center
      • Klein in pg 301
Poetry: Parallelism (Chiasm)
  • Chiasm - Rom 2:6-11, prominent in book of Jeremiah
    • A-B-C-B-A
    • A-B-C-C-B-A
    • Points are almost always in the center
    • Klein in pg 301
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