Saturday, December 10, 2011

Josh 1-7

1.5  I will never leave thee nor forsake thee...  The meaning of the Hebrew word for "leave" adds some depth to this phrase that is quoted in Hebrews 13.5.
 רָפָה [raphah /raw·faw/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 2198; GK 8332; 46 occurrences; AV translates as “feeble” six times, “fail” four times, “weaken” four times, “go” four times, “alone” four times, “idle” three times, “stay” three times, “slack” three times, “faint” twice, “forsake” twice, “abated” once, “cease” once, and translated miscellaneously nine times. 1 to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened. 1A (Qal). 1A1 to sink down. 1A2 to sink, drop. 1A3 to sink, relax, abate. 1A4 to relax, withdraw. 1B (Niphal) idle (participle). 1C (Piel) to let drop. 1D (Hiphil). 1D1 to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake. 1D2 to let go. 1D3 to refrain, let alone. 1D4 to be quiet. 1E (Hithpael) to show oneself slack. Strong's # 7503
Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
1.6 strong and courageous...
 חָזַק (ḥāzaq) be(come) strong, strengthen, prevail, harden, be courageous, be sore (meaning be severe).  TWOT # 636 
The Qal form, used eighty-two times, means to “be strong” or “become strong.” In most cases it can be so translated, but often the variety of contexts encourages or necessitates a variety of renditions. Most often the word is used for strength in battle (I Kgs 20:23). The admonition to be strong in combat may simply be an exhortation to be of good courage (and is so translated in II Sam 10:12).
In Gen 41:56 “strong” is used in the sense of “severe” (RSV; KJV and ASV “sore”) in reference to a famine. Similarly a battle may be “severe” (II Kgs 3:26). “To be stronger than” in context comes to mean “prevail,” as the word of David “prevailed” against Joab (II Sam 24:4), David against the Philistine (I Sam 17:50), and Jotham over the Ammonites (II Chr 27:5). When used of Pharoah’s heart the meaning is “harden” (Ex 7:13f.).
[The hardening of Pharoah’s heart is an old problem, one that is more theological than linguistic. The verb ḥāzaq is used twelve times in the narrative (Ex 4–14), mostly with the Lord as the agent, but four times in the passive or stative sense (“Pharaoh’s heart was hardened”). Also, the verb kāhēd is used five times, both with the Lord as the agent, with Pharaoh as the agent, and in the passive sense. The verb qāšâ is used once with the Lord as the agent. There is no discernible difference here in the usage of these words. It is clear that Pharaoh was an unrepentant sinner at the start (chapter 5). It is perhaps enough to point this out and remark that all of God’s hardening of an obstinate sinner was judicial and done that God’s deliverance should be the more memorable. And this, too, was in God’s plan (Ex 9:16), though it is also inexplicably true that Pharaoh sinned freely and was therefore terribly guilty (cf. Acts 4:25–28). R.L.H.]
Other resultant meanings include “be sure” (Deut 12:23), “be steadfast” (Josh 23:6, RSV), “catch hold” (II Sam 18:9, Absalom’s head in the oak; the causative of this is common usage in the Hiphil), “recover” (Isa 39:1, Hezekiah from sickness), “stout,” (of peoples’ words against God, Mal 3:13).
The Qal form of the verb is used twice (II Chr 28:20; Isa 28:22) in the Piel sense of “strengthen.”
Weber, C. P. (1999). 636 חָזַק. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (276). Chicago: Moody Press.

אָמֵץ (ʾāmēṣ) be stout, strong, alert, bold, be solid, hard.  TWOT # 117
This verb is found forty-one times in the OT. Ugaritic attests a parallel to the term.
In the Piel stem the verb can be rendered “make firm,” “strengthen,” “secure,” “harden” (one’s mind). The Hiphil stem manifests the force of “exhibit strength,” “feel strong.” In the Hithpael stem the translation is “strengthen oneself,” “persist in,” “prove superior to,” “make oneself alert.” The first occurrence of the verb is in Gen 25:23 in the Qal stem. The Lord revealed to Rebekah, before her sons were born, that they would be progenitors of two nations, and that one would be stronger than the other. David sang a song of deliverance for the mercy which the Lord granted in delivering him from Saul, an enemy stronger than he (II Sam 22:18 with its parallel in Ps 18:17 [H 18]). David expressed a similar sentiment in his prayer in the cave (Psa 142:6 [H 7]). In the days of Jeroboam’s revolt against the Davidic dynasty, the Lord defeated the northern kingdom and its forces at the hand of Abijah, and the Judean army “prevailed” despite a well laid ambush (II Chr 13:18).

As a parallel to the more usual verb ḥāzaq, the word is employed repeatedly in God’s charge to Joshua to be strong for the arduous tasks he assumed at the death of Moses (Josh 1:6,7,9,18). Moses spoke similar words of encouragement to his understudy (Deut 31:7, 23). He charged the people in like manner (Deut 31:6).Weber, C. P. (1999). 636 חָזַק. In R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer, Jr. & B. K. Waltke, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (276). Chicago: Moody Press.
1.17 affirmation and pressure in one verse
2.5  Sanctify yourselves...  I wonder what they did to sanctify themselves.  Was there some ceremony, some process they went through get there, or is this just telling them to have this attitude?
2.11  Lord of all the earth...  instead of the Lord your God.  Thinking about the word choice.
4.24  The peoples will know and Israel would fear the Lord.  Have you gone from knowing to fearing/
5.9  This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you...
After all the males were circumcised … the LORD acknowledged the completed task by declaring, Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you. Since the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they did not practice circumcision until they were about to leave. No doubt the Egyptians prohibited the practice since it was reserved for their own priests and upper-class citizens. “The reproach of Egypt” may refer to the Egyptians’ mocking the Israelites for not having possessed the land of Canaan.  --Donald K. Campbell
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Jos 5:8–9). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
7.6  until evening...  That was probably a long time.  I'm not sure we think we have that much time to wait anymore.  I assume that there was some significance to waiting till evening, maybe an evening sacrifice? 
7.13  Sanctify yourselves...  Apparently an action that is repeated as needed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

WWT Hermenuetics - 081112@TBC E/D Mtg

What We Teach at Tulsa Bible Church
I. Bible (Bibliology)
C. Hermeneutics
1. We teach the literal, grammatical, historical (contextual) interpretation of Scripture, which for example affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal 24-hour days.
Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. NKJV
Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ” NKJV
2. We teach that whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation.  The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.1 It is the responsibility of believers as they grow in maturity, to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that such truth is binding on all generations.  Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of Scripture.
1 John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20
Literal  The main idea here is that there is not some mystical meaning that is independent of the normal meaning of the words. We use the word literal to express this idea.
Grammatical The adjectives “grammatical” and “historical” are added here to remind us that to understand the meaning of the Bible, we will often need to take into account the normal word meanings, grammar rules, and literary style.
Historical While we count on the Holy Spirit to give us spiritual understanding, that doesn’t mean we ignore the normal meaning of the words to the people they were originally addressed to.  Language and customs change from place to place and time to time.  We need to pay attention to how the time period and location of the writing affected people’s understandings of what is said.
The purpose of interpretation is to properly understand what the author means. This is the more “scientific or objective” part of Bible study.
transitive verb
1 : to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms
2 : to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance : construe
3 : to represent by means of art : bring to realization by performance or direction
intransitive verb
: to act as an interpreter between speakers of different languages
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2008.
This is the art of taking what the author was inspired to write (its meaning) and applying those principles to what we think, say, and do.
“the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He enlightens those who are in a right relationship with Him to comprehend the written Word of God.”   Moody Handbook of Theology

“In reference to the Bible,
revelation relates to its content or material,
inspiration to the method of recording that material, and
illumination to the meaning of the record.” 
Survey of Bible Doctrine  Charles C Ryrie
 John 7.17 If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
John 16. 12-15   I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
1 Corinthians 2.7-15   But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."  10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy  Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
1 John 2.20  But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.



Natural Interpretation

Foundations of Natural Biblical Interpretation

· The inerrant Word of God - Work from the assumptions of absolute authority, inerrancy, timeliness, and internal consistency throughout the entire Bible.

· The Holy Spirit agrees with the written Word - Do not be confused by the spiritual aspect of understanding Scripture - this is the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit which helps the believer to understand Scripture properly and to apply Scripture personally, but which does not contradict, add to, take from, or change the meaning of the written Scripture.

· Normal grammatical language - Work from the best knowledge of the original biblical languages and manuscripts, use the best available resources, and normal linguistic methods. Normal language includes the use of symbols, figures of speech, poetic language, and colloquial expressions.

· Context, context, context - Work within the context of the original historical audience, and also within the context of the relevant surrounding (and/or referenced) passages.

· Single meaning - Work from the assumption that biblical texts have single meanings (not unstated multiple or progressive meanings) communicated via ordinary written language (not specially coded for spiritual elites, or for especially clever archeologist/ mathematician/ cryptologists).

· Ask, don't tell - The interpreter must not read-in preconceptions. The work of interpretation is finding out what the Bible says - it is an act of honest observation and investigation, not trying to prove or justify existing beliefs or ideas.


Common Mistakes of New Bible Students

By "Common Mistakes", I mean the reasons why Bible students misinterpret the Bible.

This also pertains to Bible study group leaders, Sunday school teachers, preachers, etc., i.e. anyone teaching or preaching from the Bible. Whenever someone is teaching Scripture and they say something that makes people wince - and I think to myself, "if only they had just ...(whatever)... they wouldn't have said that!" - Well here's a list of frequent reasons why passages are misinterpreted.


1. General Ignorance of the Whole Bible - A lot of people just starting to get involved in church ministry have not read through the Bible, and don't have a working understanding of the historic/prophetic core context. Likewise, they don't own (or dont' use) a Bible outline or other basic references to help overcome these inadequacies.

Solution:Read through the whole Bible before you ever start teaching Bible. In fact, you should read through the whole Bible even if you don't teach!

Get a good Bible outline (maybe there's one in your study Bible) and use it habitually. This will help a great deal with immediate context.

Get a Bible Dictionary (Unger's) and at least one good commentary - the selection of which is important - and use it habitually. Your commentary will help fill in the gaps of whole-Bible knowledge including the identification of other related passages. Commentaries which I know and appreciate include Matthew Henry (common free e-copies), Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, and the Expositors Bible Commentary ed. Gaebelein. An alternative to commentaries are the Study Bible notes of authors like Scofield, Ryrie, or Thompson.

2.  Shoot-from-the-hip Analysis - Especially pertaining to parables, prophecies, or other passages with symbollic elements. People get really random with the interpretation of non-literal or prophetic passages. These should NOT be considered "common sense passages", but passages calling for us to apply particular care and full preparation.

Solution - This is where commentaries really shine, both for the identification of related passages, and for commonly held explanations. Remember, you're not locked in to whatever the commentator says, but it's a good place to start!

3. Not Reading the Following Passage - Let the author explain; Often when we are expounding on the meaning of a passage of Scripture, the best explanation is the next few verses! Too often people don't study the surrounding passage and miss the best commentary there is.

Solution - Scripture best explains itself - proper preparation requires you to read the previous and following passages.

4. Missing Parallel or Related Scripture Passages - Get the whole story! Too often, people miss the passage they need because they don't know it's available to them. A great way to embarrass yourself is to misinterpret a passage which Scripture explains elsewhere!

Solution - Use your chain-reference or other helps to identify the source of quotes, and read that passage as well. Get a reference for Gospel parallels and check for your passage in a parallel Gospel. Again, study Bibles and commentaries will often point you right at these other scriptures. Other helps for this are topical indexes and concordances - but these are word based not directly associated.

5. Interpreting Scripture Based on Your Current Beliefs It's not wrong to believe what you've been taught, but too often this is a crutch used to explain difficult passages (as you heard it explained by ...) rather than working with the passage yourself.

Solution - Don't be a copy-cat. The more original Bible study you do, the more original your own understanding will be - Nail it down for yourself! But also, Don't isolate yourself - It's always good to teach a class which includes other mature, knowledgeable Christians. It's also good to work through a good theology book (Chafer, Walvoord, Ryrie, Theissen). When (not if) you do get to a place of conflict between what you see and what you've been taught, it's time to talk to your pastor!

6. Personal application of inapplicable passages - Wrongly claiming commands or promises; Examples include Jesus telling the disciple that they would be immune to poisonous snakes, or Moses forbidding the Israelites to do any form of work on Saturdays. Both of these examples have modern religions which hold these two examples as generally applicable to current believers. There is also a strong tendency, especially in charismatic churches, to claim any promise found in Scripture as being personably applicable - "name it and claim it!"

Solution - This is where the importance of contextual qualification comes in. If Jesus is speaking to a certain individual or group, that does not mean that what He says necessarily applies to anyone else. Take care to properly identify the original historical audience, and then decide whether or not a case can be made for direct application to the modern believer. Also important for determining the applicability of a passage is a working understanding of dispensations, or promises, covenants, and prophecies.

6. Overemphasizing a particular Word - When you're reading English! A good example: I have heard at least 3 different preachers use "where there is no vision, the people perish:..." (Proverbs 29:18a, KJV) used as a basis for a speech on goal-setting. Wrong use of the word - a better interpretation of "vision" would be "revelation", as in Scripture - not "vision" as in "imagining" or "dreaming!" In this case, The rest of the verse show by context that this is about Scripture - "...but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." (Proverbs 29:18b, KJV)

Solution - Do your word studies. Translations are good, but words are tricky. Before you key up on a particular word or phrase, make sure you check the language references. Strong's concordance is the standard. It's keyed to the KJV, locates the individual words by passage, gives the original, and includes the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries.


How to Respond to"That's Your Interpretation"

by R.C. Sproul
When I discuss biblical concepts with my friends, I'm often met with the reply, "That's your interpretation." How do I respond?
That is such a common response. You labor over a passage and do your homework, then present the passage, and somebody looks at you and says, "Well, that's your interpretation."
What do they really mean when they say that? That anything you say must be wrong, and since this is your interpretation, then it must be an incorrect one? I don't think people are trying to insult us. The real issue here is whether or not there is a correct and incorrect interpretation of Scripture. When many people say, "That's your interpretation," what they really mean is, "I'll interpret it my way, and you interpret it your way. Everybody has the right to interpret the Bible however they want to. Our forefathers died for the right of what we call private interpretation: that every Christian has the right to read the Bible for themselves and to interpret it for themselves."
When interpretation became an issue in the sixteenth century at the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church took a dim view of it. One of their canons at the fourth session said that nobody has the right to distort the Scriptures by applying private interpretations to them. Insofar as that statement is recorded at Trent, I agree with it with all of my heart because it's exactly right. Though I have the right to read the Bible for myself and the responsibility to interpret it accurately, nobody ever has the right to interpret the Bible incorrectly.
I believe there is only one correct interpretation of the Bible. There may be a thousand different applications of one verse, but only one correct interpretation. My interpretation may not be right and yours may not be right, but if they're different they can't both be right. That's relativism taken to its ridiculous extreme. When someone says, "Well, that's your interpretation," I would respond, "Let's try to get at the objective meaning of the text and beyond our own private prejudices."

Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

With commentary by Norman L. Geisler

Reproduced from Explaining Hermeneutics: A Commentary on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics. Oakland, California: International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1983.


Summit I of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy took place in Chicago on October 26-28, 1978 for the purpose of affirming afresh the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture, making clear the understanding of it and warning against its denial. In the years that have passed since Summit I, God has blessed that effort in ways surpassing most anticipations. A gratifying flow of helpful literature on the doctrine of inerrancy as well as a growing commitment to its value give cause to pour forth praise to our great God.
The work of Summit I had hardly been completed when it became evident that there was yet another major task to be tackled. While we recognize that belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is basic to maintaining its authority, the values of that commitment are only as real as one's understanding of the meaning of Scripture. Thus, the need for Summit II. For two years plans were laid and papers were written on themes relating to hermeneutical principles and practices. The culmination of this effort has been a meeting in Chicago on November 10-13, 1982 at which we, the undersigned, have participated.
In similar fashion to the Chicago Statement of 1978, we herewith present these affirmations and denials as an expression of the results of our labors to clarify hermeneutical issues and principles. We do not claim completeness or systematic treatment of the entire subject, but these affirmations and denials represent a consensus of the approximately one hundred participants and observers gathered at this conference. It has been a broadening experience to engage in dialogue, and it is our prayer that God will use the product of our diligent efforts to enable us and others to more correctly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

Article I

WE AFFIRM  that the normative authority of Holy Scripture is the authority of God Himself, and is attested by Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church.
WE DENY  the legitimacy of separating the authority of Christ from the authority of Scripture, or of opposing the one to the other.
This first article affirms that the authority of Scripture cannot be separated from the authority of God. Whatever the Bible affirms, God affirms. And what the Bible affirms (or denies), it affirms (or denies) with the very authority of God. Such authority is normative for all believers; it is the canon or rule of God.
This divine authority of Old Testament Scripture was confirmed by Christ Himself on numerous occasions (cf. Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 24:44; John 10:34-35). And what our Lord confirmed as to the divine authority of the Old Testament, He promised also for the New Testament (John 14:16; 16:13).
The Denial points out that one cannot reject the divine authority of Scripture without thereby impugning the authority of Christ, who attested Scripture's divine authority. Thus it is wrong to claim one can accept the full authority of Christ without acknowledging the complete authority of Scripture.

Article II

WE AFFIRM  that as Christ is God and Man in One Person, so Scripture is, indivisibly, God's Word in human language.
WE DENY  that the humble, human form of Scripture entails errancy any more than the humanity of Christ, even in His humiliation, entails sin.
Here an analogy is drawn between Christ and Scripture. Both Christ and Scripture have dual aspects of divinity and humanity, indivisibly united in one expression. Both Christ and Scripture were conceived by an act of the Holy Spirit. Both involve the use of fallible human agents. But both produced a theanthropic result; one a sinless person and the other an errorless book. However, like all analogies, there is a difference. Christ is one person uniting two natures whereas Scripture is one written expression uniting two authors (God and man). This difference notwithstanding, the strength of the likeness in the analogy points to the inseparable unity between divine and human dimensions of Scripture so that one aspect cannot be in error while the other is not.
The Denial is directed at a contemporary tendency to separate the human aspects of Scripture from the divine and allow for error in the former. By contrast the framers of this article believe that the human form of Scripture can no more be found in error than Christ could be found in sin. That is to say, the Word of God (i.e., the Bible) is as necessarily perfect in its human manifestation as was the Son of God in His human form.

Article III

WE AFFIRM  that the Person and work of Jesus Christ are the central focus of the entire Bible.
WE DENY  that any method of interpretation which rejects or obscures the Christ-centeredness of Scripture is correct.
This Affirmation follows the teaching of Christ that He is the central theme of Scripture (Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Heb. 10:7). This is to say that focus on the person and work of Christ runs throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. To be sure there are other and tangential topics, but the person and work of Jesus Christ are central.
In view of the focus of Scripture on Christ, the Denial stresses a hermeneutical obligation to make this Christocentric message clear in the expounding of Scripture. As other articles (cf. Article XV) emphasize the "literal" interpretation of Scripture, this article is no license for allegorization and unwarranted typology which see Christ portrayed in every detail of Old Testament proclamation. The article simply points to the centrality of Christ's mission in the unfolding of God's revelation to man.
Neither is there any thought in this article of making the role of Christ more ultimate than that of the Father. What is in view here is the focus of Scripture and not the ultimate source or object of the whole plan of redemption.

Article IV

WE AFFIRM  that the Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture acts through it today to work faith in its message.
WE DENY  that the Holy Spirit ever teaches to any one anything which is contrary to the teaching of Scripture.
Here stress is laid on the fact that the Holy Spirit not only is the source of Scripture, but also works to produce faith in Scripture He has inspired. Without this ministry of the Holy Spirit, belief in the truth of Scripture would not occur.
The Denial is directed at those alleged "revelations" which some claim to have but which are contrary to Scripture. No matter how sincere or genuinely felt, no dream, vision, or supposed revelation which contradicts Scripture ever comes from the Holy Spirit. For the utterances of the Holy Spirit are all harmonious and noncontradictory (see Article XX).

Article V

WE AFFIRM  that the Holy Spirit enables believers to appropriate and apply Scripture to their lives.
WE DENY  that the natural man is able to discern spiritually the biblical message apart from the Holy Spirit.
The design of this article is to indicate that the ministry of the Holy Spirit extends beyond the inspiration of Scripture to its very application to the lives of the believer. Just as no one calls Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3), so no one can appropriate the message of Scripture to his life apart from the gracious work of the Holy Spirit.
The Denial stresses the truth that the natural man does not receive the spiritual message of Scripture. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit there is no welcome for its truth in an unregenerate heart.
This does not imply that a non-Christian is unable to understand the meaning of any Scripture. It means that whatever he may perceive of the message of Scripture, that without the Holy Spirit's work he will not welcome the message in his heart.

Article VI

WE AFFIRM  that the Bible expresses God's truth in propositional statements, and we declare that biblical truth is both objective and absolute. We further affirm that a statement is true if it represents matters as they actually are, but is an error if it misrepresents the facts.
WE DENY  that, while Scripture is able to make us wise unto salvation, biblical truth should be defined in terms of this function. We further deny that error should be defined as that which willfully deceives.
Since hermeneutics is concerned with understanding the truth of Scripture, attention is directed here to the nature of truth. Several significant affirmations are made about the nature of truth.
First, in contrast to contemporary relativism it is declared that truth is absolute. Second, as opposed to subjectivism it is acknowledged that truth is objective. Finally, in opposition to existential and pragmatic views of truth, this article affirms that truth is what corresponds to reality. This same point was made in the "Chicago Statement on Inerrancy" (1978) in Article XIII and the commentary on it.
The Denial makes it evident that views which redefine an error to mean what "misleads," rather than what is a mistake, must be rejected. This redefinition of the word "error" is both contrary to Scripture and to common sense. In Scripture the word error is used of unintentional acts (Lev. 4:2) as well as intentional ones. Also, in common parlance a statement is in error if it is a factual mistake, even if there was no intention to mislead anyone by it. So to suggest that the Bible contains mistakes, but that these are not errors so long as they do not mislead, is contrary to both Scripture and ordinary usage.
By this subtle redefinition of error to mean only what misleads but not what misrepresents, some have tried to maintain that the Bible is wholly true (in that it never misleads) and yet that it may have some mistakes in it. This position is emphatically rejected by the confessors of this document.

Article VII

WE AFFIRM  that the meaning expressed in each biblical text is single, definite and fixed.
WE DENY  that the recognition of this single meaning eliminates the variety of its application.
The Affirmation here is directed at those who claim a "double" or "deeper" meaning to Scripture than that expressed by the authors. It stresses the unity and fixity of meaning as opposed to those who find multiple and pliable meanings. What a passage means is fixed by the author and is not subject to change by readers. This does not imply that further revelation on the subject cannot help one come to a fuller understanding, but simply that the meaning given in a text is not changed because additional truth is revealed subsequently.
Meaning is also definite in that there are defined limits by virtue of the author's expressed meaning in the given linguistic form and cultural context. Meaning is determined by an author; it is discovered by the readers.
The Denial adds the clarification that simply because Scripture has one meaning does not imply that its messages cannot be applied to a variety of individuals or situations. While the interpretation is one, the applications can be many.

Article VIII

WE AFFIRM  that the Bible contains teachings and mandates which apply to all cultural and situational contexts and other mandates which the Bible itself shows apply only to particular situations.
WE DENY  that the distinctions between the universal and particular mandates of Scripture can be determined by cultural and situational factors. We further deny that universal mandates may ever be treated as culturally or situationally relative.
In view of the tendency of many to relativize the message of the Bible by accommodating it to changing cultural situations, this Affirmation proclaims the universality of biblical teachings. There are commands which transcend all cultural barriers and are binding on all men everywhere. To be sure, some biblical injunctions are directed to specific situations, but even these are normative to the particular situation(s) to which they speak. However, there are commands in Scripture which speak universally to the human situation and are not bound to particular cultures or situations.
The Denial addresses the basis of the distinction between universal and particular situations. It denies that the grounds of this distinction are relative or purely cultural. It further denies the legitimacy of relativizing biblical absolutes by reducing them to purely cultural mandates.
The meaning of this article is that whatever the biblical text means is binding. And what is meant to be universally binding should not be relegated to particular situations any more than what is meant to apply only to particular circumstances should be promulgated as universally applicable.
There is an attempt here to strike a balance between command and culture by recognizing that a command transcends culture, even though it speaks to and is expressed in a particular culture. Thus while the situation (or circumstances) may help us to discover the right course of action, the situation never determines what is right. God's laws are not situationally determined.

Article IX

WE AFFIRM  that the term hermeneutics, which historically signified the rules of exegesis, may properly be extended to cover all that is involved in the process of perceiving what the biblical revelation means and how it bears on our lives.
WE DENY  that the message of Scripture derives from, or is dictated by, the interpreter's understanding. Thus we deny that the "horizons" of the biblical writer and the interpreter may rightly "fuse" in such a way that what the text communicates to the interpreter is not ultimately controlled by the expressed meaning of the Scripture.
The primary thrust of this Affirmation is definitional. It desires to clarify the meaning of the term hermeneutics by indicating that it includes not only perception of the declared meaning of a text but also an understanding of the implications that text has for one's life. Thus, hermeneutics is more than biblical exegesis. It is not only the science that leads forth the meaning of a passage but also that which enables one (by the Holy Spirit) to understand the spiritual implications the truth(s) of this passage has for Christian living.
The Denial notes that the meaning of a passage is not derived from or dictated by the interpreter. Rather, meaning comes from the author who wrote it. Thus the reader's understanding has no hermeneutically definitive role. Readers must listen to the meaning of a text and not attempt to legislate it. Of course, the meaning listened to should be applied to the reader's life. But the need or desire for specific application should not color the interpretation of a passage.

Article X

WE AFFIRM  that Scripture communicates God's truth to us verbally through a wide variety of literary forms.
WE DENY  that any of the limits of human language render Scripture inadequate to convey God's message.
This Affirmation is a logical literary extension of Article II which acknowledges the humanity of Scripture. The Bible is God's Word, but it is written in human words; thus, revelation is "verbal." Revelation is "propositional" (Article VI) because it expresses certain propositional truth. Some prefer to call it "sentential" because the truth is expressed in sentences. Whatever the term--verbal, propositional, or sentential--the Bible is a human book which uses normal literary forms. These include parables, satire, irony, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, poetry, and even allegory (e.g., Ezek. 16-17).
As an expression in finite, human language, the Bible has certain limitations in a similar way that Christ as a man had certain limitations. This means that God adapted Himself through human language so that His eternal truth could be understood by man in a temporal world.
Despite the obvious fact of the limitations of any finite linguistic expression, the Denial is quick to point out that these limits do not render Scripture an inadequate means of communicating God's truth. For while there is a divine adaptation (via language) to human finitude there is no accommodation to human error. Error is not essential to human nature. Christ was human and yet He did not err. Adam was human before he erred. So simply because the Bible is written in human language does not mean it must err. In fact, when God uses human language there is a supernatural guarantee that it will not be in error.

Article XI

WE AFFIRM  that translations of the text of Scripture can communicate knowledge of God across all temporal and cultural boundaries.
WE DENY  that the meaning of biblical texts is so tied to the culture out of which they came that understanding of the same meaning in other cultures is impossible.
Simply because the truth of Scripture was conveyed by God in the original writings does not mean that it cannot be translated into another language. This article affirms the translatability of God's truth into other cultures. It affirms that since truth is transcendent (see Article XX) it is not culture-bound. Hence the truth of God expressed in a first-century culture is not limited to that culture. For the nature of truth is not limited to any particular medium through which it is expressed.
The Denial notes that since meaning is not inextricably tied to a given culture it can be adequately expressed in another culture. Thus the message of Scripture need not be relativized by translation. What is expressed can be the same even though how it is expressed differs.

Article XII

WE AFFIRM  that in the task of translating the Bible and teaching it in the context of each culture, only those functional equivalents which are faithful to the content of biblical teaching should be employed.
WE DENY  the legitimacy of methods which either are insensitive to the demands of cross-cultural communication or distort biblical meaning in the process.
Whereas the previous article treated the matter of the translatability of divine truth, this article speaks to the adequacy of translations. Obviously not every expression in another language will appropriately convey the meaning of Scripture. In view of this, caution is urged that the translators remain faithful to the truth of the Scripture being translated by the proper choice of the words used to translate it.
This article treats the matter of "functional" equivalence. Often there is no actual or literal equivalence between expressions in one language and a word-for-word translation into another language. What is expressed (meaning) is the same but how it is expressed (the words) is different. Hence a different construction can be used to convey the same meaning.
The Denial urges sensitivity to cultural matters so that the same truth may be conveyed, even though different terms are being used. Without this awareness missionary activity can be severely hampered.

Article XIII

WE AFFIRM  that awareness of the literary categories, formal and stylistic, of the various parts of Scripture is essential for proper exegesis, and hence we value genre criticism as one of the many disciplines of biblical study.
WE DENY  that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on biblical narratives which present themselves as factual.
The awareness of what kind of literature one is interpreting is essential to a correct understanding of the text. A correct genre judgment should be made to ensure correct understanding. A parable, for example, should not be treated like a chronicle, nor should poetry be interpreted as though it were a straightforward narrative. Each passage has its own genre, and the interpreter should be cognizant of the specific kind of literature it is as he attempts to interpret it. Without genre recognition an interpreter can be misled in his understanding of the passage. For example, when the prophet speaks of "trees clapping their hands" (Isa. 55:12) one could assume a kind of animism unless he recognized that this is poetry and not prose.
The Denial is directed at an illegitimate use of genre criticism by some who deny the truth of passages which are presented as factual. Some, for instance, take Adam to be a myth, whereas in Scripture he is presented as a real person. Others take Jonah to be an allegory when he is presented as a historical person and so referred to by Christ (Mat. 12:40-42). This Denial is an appropriate and timely warning not to use genre criticism as a cloak for rejecting the truth of Scripture.

Article XIV

WE AFFIRM  that the biblical record of events, discourses and sayings, though presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds to historical fact.
WE DENY  that any event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the biblical writers or by the traditions they incorporated.
This article combines the emphases of Articles VI and XIII. While acknowledging the legitimacy of literary forms, this article insists that any record of events presented in Scripture must correspond to historical fact. That is, no reported event, discourse, or saying should be considered imaginary.
The Denial is even more clear than the Affirmation. It stresses that any discourse, saying, or event reported in Scripture must actually have occurred. This means that any hermeneutic or form of biblical criticism which claims that something was invented by the author must be rejected. This does not mean that a parable must be understood to represent historical facts, since a parable does not (by its very genre) purport to report an event or saying but simply to illustrate a point.

Article XV

WE AFFIRM  the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text.
WE DENY  the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support.
The literal sense of Scripture is strongly affirmed here. To be sure the English word literal carries some problematic connotations with it. Hence the words normal and grammatical-historical are used to explain what is meant. The literal sense is also designated by the more descriptive title grammatical-historical sense. This means the correct interpretation is the one which discovers the meaning of the text in its grammatical forms and in the historical, cultural context in which the text is expressed.
The Denial warns against attributing to Scripture any meaning not based in a literal understanding, such as mythological or allegorical interpretations. This should not be understood as eliminating typology or designated allegory or other literary forms which include figures of speech (see Articles X, XIII, and XIV).

Article XVI

WE AFFIRM  that legitimate critical techniques should be used in determining the canonical text and its meaning.
WE DENY  the legitimacy of allowing any method of biblical criticism to question the truth or integrity of the writer's expressed meaning, or of any other scriptural teaching.
Implied here is an approval of legitimate techniques of "lower criticism" or "textual criticism." It is proper to use critical techniques in order to discover the true text of Scripture, that is, the one which represents the original one given by the biblical authors.
Whereas critical methodology can be used to establish which of the texts are copies of the inspired original, it is illegitimate to use critical methods to call into question whether something in the original text is true. In other words, proper "lower criticism" is valid but negative "higher criticism" which rejects truths of Scripture is invalid.

Article XVII

WE AFFIRM  the unity, harmony and consistency of Scripture and declare that it is its own best interpreter.
WE DENY  that Scripture may be interpreted in such a way as to suggest that one passage corrects or militates against another. We deny that later writers of Scripture misinterpreted earlier passages of Scripture when quoting from or referring to them.
Two points are made in the Affirmation, the unity of Scripture and its self-interpreting ability. Since the former is treated elsewhere (Article XXI), we will comment on the latter here. Not only is the Bible always correct in interpreting itself (see Article XVIII), but it is the "best interpreter" of itself.
Another point made here is that comparing Scripture with Scripture is an excellent help to an interpreter. For one passage sheds light on another. Hence the first commentary the interpreter should consult on a passage is what the rest of Scripture may say on that text.
The Denial warns against the assumption that an understanding of one passage can lead the interpreter to reject the teaching of another passage. One passage may help him better comprehend another but it will never contradict another.
This last part of the Denial is particularly directed to those who believe the New Testament writers misinterpret the Old Testament, or that they attribute meaning to an Old Testament text not expressed by the author of that text. While it is acknowledged that there is sometimes a wide range of application for a text, this article affirms that the interpretation of a biblical text by another biblical writer is always within the confines of the meaning of the first text.

Article XVIII

WE AFFIRM  that the Bible's own interpretation of itself is always correct, never deviating from, but rather elucidating, the single meaning of the inspired text. The single meaning of a prophet's words includes, but is not restricted to, the understanding of those words by the prophet and necessarily involves the intention of God evidenced in the fulfillment of those words.
WE DENY  that the writers of Scripture always understood the full implications of their own words.
This Affirmation was perhaps the most difficult to word. The first part of the Affirmation builds on Article VII which declared that Scripture has only one meaning, and simply adds that whenever the Bible comments on another passage of Scripture it does so correctly. That is, the Bible never misinterprets itself. It always correctly understands the meaning of the passage it comments on (see Article XVII). For example, that Paul misinterprets Moses is to say that Paul erred. This view is emphatically rejected in favor of the inerrancy of all Scripture.
The problem in the second statement of the Affirmation revolves around whether God intended more by a passage of Scripture than the human author did. Put in this way, evangelical scholars are divided on the issue, even though there is unity on the question of "single meaning." Some believe that this single meaning may be fuller than the purview of the human author, since God had far more in view than did the prophet when he wrote it. The wording here is an attempt to include reference to the fulfillment of a prophecy (of which God was obviously aware when He inspired it) as part of the single meaning which God and the prophet shared. However, the prophet may not have been conscious of the full implications of this meaning when he wrote it.
The way around the difficulty was to note that there is only one meaning to a passage which both God and the prophet affirmed, but that this meaning may not always be fully "evidenced" until the prophecy is fulfilled. Furthermore, God, and not necessarily the prophets, was fully aware of the fuller implications that would be manifested in the fulfillment of this single meaning.
It is important to preserve single meaning without denying that God had more in mind than the prophet did. A distinction needs to be made, then, between what God was conscious of concerning an affirmation (which, in view of His foreknowledge and omniscience, was far more) and what He and the prophet actually expressed in the passage. The Denial makes this point clear by noting that biblical authors were not always fully aware of the implications of their own affirmations.

Article XIX

WE AFFIRM  that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to correction by it.
WE DENY  that Scripture should be required to fit alien preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism.
The question of preunderstanding is a crucial one in contemporary hermeneutics. The careful wording of the Affirmation does not discuss the issue of whether one should approach Scripture with a particular preunderstanding, but simply which kinds of preunderstanding one has are legitimate. This question is answered by affirming that only those preunderstandings which are compatible with the teaching of Scripture are legitimate. In fact, the statement goes further and demands that all preunderstanding be subject to "correction" by the teaching of Scripture.
The point of this article is to avoid interpreting Scripture through an alien grid or filter which obscures or negates its true message. For it acknowledges that one's preunderstanding will affect his understanding of a text. Hence to avoid misinterpreting Scripture one must be careful to examine his own presuppositions in the light of Scripture.

Article XX

WE AFFIRM  that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extra biblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extra-biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.
WE DENY  that extra biblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.
What is in view here is not so much the nature of truth (which is treated in Article VI), but the consistency and coherence of truth.
This is directed at those views which consider truth paradoxical or contradictory. This article declares that a proper hermeneutics avoids contradictions, since God never affirms as true two propositions, one of which is logically the opposite of the other.
Further, this Affirmation recognizes that not all truth is in the Bible (though all that is affirmed in the Bible is true). God has revealed Himself in nature and history as well as in Scripture. However, since God is the ultimate Author of all truth, there can be no contradiction between truths of Scripture and the true teachings of science and history.
Although only the Bible is the normative and infallible rule for doctrine and practice, nevertheless what one learns from sources outside Scripture can occasion a reexamination and reinterpretation of Scripture. For example, some have taught the world to be square because the Bible refers to "the four corners of the earth" (Isa. 11:12). But scientific knowledge of the spherical nature of the globe leads to a correction of this faulty interpretation. Other clarifications of our understanding of the biblical text are possible through the study of the social sciences.
However, whatever prompting and clarifying of Scripture that extra biblical studies may provide, the final authority for what the Bible teaches rests in the text of Scripture itself and not in anything outside it (except in God Himself). The Denial makes clear this priority of the teaching of God's scriptural revelation over anything outside it.

Article XXI

WE AFFIRM  the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore of biblical teaching with the facts of nature.
WE DENY  that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture.
This article continues the discussion of the previous article by noting the harmony of God's general revelation (outside Scripture) and His special revelation in Scripture. It is acknowledged by all that certain interpretations of Scripture and some opinions of scientists will contradict each other. However, it is insisted here that the truth of Scripture and the facts of science never contradict each other.
"Genuine" science will always be in accord with Scripture. Science, however, based on naturalistic presuppositions will inevitably come in conflict with the supernatural truths of Scripture.
Far from denying a healthy interchange between scientific theory and biblical interpretation, the framers of this statement welcome such. Indeed, it is acknowledged (in article XX) that the exegete can learn from the scientist. What is denied is that we should accept scientific views that contradict Scripture or that they should be given an authority above Scripture.

Article XXII

WE AFFIRM  that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.
WE DENY  that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.
Since the historicity and the scientific accuracy of the early chapters of the Bible have come under severe attack it is important to apply the "literal" hermeneutic espoused (Article XV) to this question. The result was a recognition of the factual nature of the account of the creation of the universe, all living things, the special creation of man, the Fall, and the Flood. These accounts are all factual, that is, they are about space-time events which actually happened as reported in the book of Genesis (see Article XIV).
The article left open the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity among evangelicals and which was beyond the purview of this conference. There was, however, complete agreement on denying that Genesis is mythological or unhistorical. Likewise, the use of the term "creation" was meant to exclude the belief in macro-evolution, whether of the atheistic or theistic varieties.

Article XXIII

WE AFFIRM  the clarity of Scripture and specifically of its message about salvation from sin.
WE DENY  that all passages of Scripture are equally clear or have equal bearing on the message of redemption.
Traditionally this teaching is called the "perspicuity" of Scripture. By this is meant that the central message of Scripture is clear, especially what the Bible says about salvation from sin.
The Denial disassociates this claim from the belief that everything in Scripture is clear or that all teachings are equally clear or equally relevant to the Bible's central saving message. It is obvious to any honest interpreter that the meaning of some passages of Scripture is obscure. It is equally evident that the truth of some passages is not directly relevant to the overall plan of salvation.

Article XXIV

WE AFFIRM  that a person is not dependent for understanding of Scripture on the expertise of biblical scholars.
WE DENY  that a person should ignore the fruits of the technical study of Scripture by biblical scholars.
This article attempts to avoid two extremes. First, it affirms that one is not dependent on biblical "experts" for his understanding of the basic truths of Scripture. Were this not true, then a significant aspect of the priesthood of all believers would be destroyed. For if the understanding of the laity is contingent on the teaching of experts, then Protestant interpretive experts will have replaced the teaching magisterium of Catholic priests with a kind of teaching magisterium of Protestant scholars.
On the other hand, biblical scholars do play a significant role in the lay understanding of Scripture. Even the very tools (Bible dictionaries, concordances, etc.) used by laypersons to interpret Scripture were produced by scholars. And when it comes to more technical and precise understanding of specific Scripture the work of experts is more than helpful. Hence the implied exhortation in the denial to avail oneself of the fruit of scholarship is well taken.

Article XXV

WE AFFIRM  that the only type of preaching which sufficiently conveys the divine revelation and its proper application to life is that which faithfully expounds the text of Scripture as the Word of God.
WE DENY  that the preacher has any message from God apart from the text of Scripture.
This final article declares that good preaching should be based in good hermeneutics. The exposition of Scripture is not to be treated in isolation from the proclamation of Scripture. In preaching the preacher should faithfully expound the Word of God. Anything short of a correct exposition of God's written Word is pronounced insufficient.
Indeed, the Denial declares that there is no message from God apart from Scripture. This was understood not to contradict the fact that there is a general revelation (affirmed in Article XXI) but simply to note that the only inspired and infallible writing from which the preacher can and must preach is the Bible.