If our vision is to help people learn how to study more efficiently, to what end is this to be
achieved? In the establishment of the meaning the Almighty originally intended the listeners/readers to understand when He 'breathed' His word into the human author.
The Almighty created speech and language and He knew our limitations so none of this should be beyond our ability. Frequently, He would give instruction and the narrative that follows would demonstrate how it was understood and applied. To comprehend that which we need to understand is
definitely not out of our grasp.
In everyday life we read books, newspapers, magazines, and engage in verbal conversation as well as listen to others speak such as on the radio, television, and movies. In these things we have no trouble acquiring the meaning of what is communicated. Why? We use a methodology, albeit, subconsciously. We need to understand what it is we are doing and
apply these same principles when we examine the Scriptures.
This is not as hard as it at first seems. However, one of the biggest problems faced in understanding His words is our inclination to ‘read into the text’ what we want it to say (also known as
Instead, we need to ‘read out of the text’ what it is saying
(Exegesis). A proper methodology can help us accomplish this. We need to allow words to have their meaning within the context of what we are reading and the Scriptures over all.
I remember reading an article from the Society of Biblical Literature Journal (1988 Seminar Papers) that had the most interesting title:
"The Ethics of Interpretation or What's Left Over After the Elimination of
Meaning" by Stephen Fowl of the University of Sheffield. If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that I do not want to find myself guilty of removing the meaning so that my interpretation of the passage says what I want it to say.
I have great faith in the body of believers and working together we can hold each other accountable as well as help each other arrive at the true meaning of what the Almighty desires for us to know, understand, and walk in. Please join with us in this endeavor.
Plan of Attack
(alongside the Spirit's leading):
Acquire a core library of research material
Get some software that allows searching on Hebrew and Greek
Establish a first century dictionary for Palestinian Judaism
Find out the “givens” the writers of the Scriptures understood
Learn what “Evidence” is and what the “Weight of Evidence” means
Determine the role that Textual Criticism needs to play in getting a working set of Scriptures
Apply a methodology such as the Q16 (we developed this with the beginner in mind)
Be prepared to share your evidence and conclusions with others hoping that if there are any omissions or errors, they will provide you with their evidence to the contrary
Begin a study just to get your feet
wet (Look at Matthew 5:17 for a case in point)
Start with something that will not take too long. (Contact us if you would like some suggestions)
Remember, we are here to help you and in turn, to learn from you as well. Helping each other can and will get the job done!