Monday, April 3, 2017

10 Rules of Biblical Interpretation

Yung Suk Kim

1. Don’t say that the Bible says. Strictly speaking, the Bible does not say or speak to you. Even if it says, it speaks more than one thing. The Bible is not a single book. Bible derives from the Greek word biblia, which means “books.”

2. Texts don’t mean, but we mean with them. Both text and reader are important.

3. Know the historical and literary context of a text. No context, no meaning!

4. Even before reading the Bible, know who you are and what you are up to. Reading is a critically informed conversation.

5. Be aware of the diversity of interpretation, but know there is also a boundary of a text.

6. Do not put God into a box. God is more than or beyond the Bible.

7. Your Bible is a translation, which is imperfect. Know biblical languages and translate texts properly.

8. Do not fix the meaning of a text, but open your mind and heart toward a new voice or insight. 
Sometimes, the problem is we know too much about the Bible.

9. Name oppressive or abusive texts or interpretation. Nothing in the text is taken for granted. 

10. Read texts closely and raise many reader-response questions.

*For more about biblical interpretation, see Biblical Interpretation: Theory, Process, and Criteria (Pickwick, 2013).

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