Five Steps in Helping Disciples Interpret the Scriptures

I was recently introduced to a book entitled “Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible” by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. I appreciate this work in how it provides five steps to what they term the “Interpretive Journey” for all biblical genres and how they help us reach the correct conclusions on a passage. The five steps are:

Step 1: Grasp the text in their town. What did the text mean to the original audience?

This initial step is key. Finding out what the a/Author intended when the passage in question was first written.

Step 2: Measure the width of the river to cross. What are the differences between the biblical audience and us?

Granted, one could spend a great deal of time delving into the original context and situation of the respective audiences of the Scriptures. Yet, having a basic understanding of the context in which it was written, then examining the parallels and differences therein helps.

Step 3: Cross the principlizing bridge. What is the theological principle in this text?

This is what could be called in the business world the “transferrable principle.” What is the principle teaching in this passage that would transfer to any culture.

Step 4: Consult the biblical map. How does our theological principle fit with the rest of the Bible?

Nothing in the Scriptures exists apart from the redemptive narrative of God’s saving work, as brought to full fruition by Jesus.

Step 5: Grasp the text in our town. How should individual Christians today live out the theological principles?

This piece deals with the application. How will we take what we learn and put these principles we’ve learned into action.

These sound hermeneutical principles will serve us well in moving forward in submerging ourselves in the Scriptures and moving forward rightly.

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