Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Gospel of Peace: Making It Real - Lesson 19 - “How Often Shall I Forgive?” - Matthew 18.21-35

Lesson 19 - “How Often Shall I Forgive?” - Matthew 18.21-35
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”) 
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.) 
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
 It is important to understand the Guidelines for Interpreting Jesus’ Parables. Even in a brief study like this it would be helpful to at least do a quick review of key principles for interpreting a parable.  You will also want to use your Bible study tools to research the cultural setting of this parable in order to understand things like kings, debt, tormenters, etc.
1.      Context: What is the occasion of this parable?  That is … 1) What event(s), problem, other teaching(s) prompted this parable?  2) To whom did Jesus address this parable?
2.      ID: List the similarities and differences between the appeal and response of servant and the king (24-27) and appeal and response of servant with the servant (28-30)?
3.      Food for Thought: Why do you think his fellow servants were “grieved”?  Why did they tell the master?
4.      Food for Thought: Why do you think the first servant was unforgiving and impatient with the second servant?
5.      WS: What is the connection between the words patience (makrothymeō) in verses 26 and 29 and the words  compassion (splagchnizomai) in verse 27 and compassion/pity (eleeō)in verse 33 and the word
6.      CR: (35) Does this verse teach about judicial forgiveness or relational forgiveness? 
7.      ID: What is the main idea or central point of this parable?  (See the comments by Dr. David Stark.)
The WALK: What should I do?
1.       Why is it hard to forgive people who keep doing the same thing wrong over and over?
2.      Is it right to withhold forgiveness until we are feel the offender is properly repentant?
3.      Who owes you “100 denarii”?  Would the word compassion or pity currently describe your attitude and response?
4.      Has the realization of how much you have been forgiven by God helped to fuel your ability and willingness to forgive someone?
5.      What causes us to be stingy or incomplete with our forgiveness?

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Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics with commentary by Norman L. Geisler

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.

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