Andrew Rappaport: Hermeneutics


May 8, 2017

Andrew Rappaport is the founder and president of Striving for Eternity Ministries, which focuses on Evangelism, Outreach, and education. He is also the author of What Do They Believe, a systematic theology of western religions.

Andrew joins me today to discuss Hermeneutics, which is the study of how we understand our Bibles. He has a course on his website and youtube page on Hermeneutics, and we will be discussing the basics today.

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An Outline of the Discussion
  • We spent some time discussing the mission of Striving for Eternity Ministries.
  • We discuss the Echo Zoe Logos Bible Software fundraiser. We share why we want Logos, how we need financial help to get it, and what it will be able to do for ministry. This ties in to the Hermeneutics discussion in that Logos has many tools that help to better understand the scriptures. Andrew offered a free copy of his book to anyone who gives $100 or more to the fundraiser.
  • Hermeneutics is the art of interpreting language. Within theology, it is how we interpret the Scriptures.
  • One of the worst things that happened in Christendom when it comes to studying Scripture, was the introduction of chapter and verse markers. It has caused people to read things out of context. Quoting Greg Koukl, “never read a Bible verse.”
  • Jesus saying, from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) is a quotation of Psalm 22. It was the Jewish way of telling people to read Psalm 22.
  • Without verse numbers, people used to refer to passages of scripture by the first word or sentence.
  • Often, 90% of what it takes to understand a passage of scripture is just reading the literary context.
  • Know the difference between descriptive and prescriptive text. Is what you're reading describing something that happened, or is it commanding you to do something?
  • Once you've figured out if a text is descriptive or prescriptive, ask yourself the 5 basic questions of: who?, what?, where?, why?, and when? to glean more from the text.
  • We took a hermeneutical look at Jonah. Why didn't Jonah want to go to Nineveh?
  • Jeremiah 29:11 has replaced John 3:16 as the most popular verse in America. It is taken horribly out of context. Verse 10 is very important to the context, and states to whom the verse directly applies.
  • We can glean principles from scripture, even when a specific passage doesn't directly apply to us. Jeremiah 29 shows that God is faithful to fulfill His promises.
  • Andrew follows a Grammatical-Historical method of interpreting scripture. That method seeks to best understand scripture by figuring out what the original audience would have understood, and how the author intended it to be understood using the grammatical (or literary) context, and the historical context in which it was written.
  • Another popular “grid” by which people interpret scripture is through Covenants; looking at the various covenants in Scripture and seeking to interpret each by way of their similarities.
  • The Reformed/Presbyterian doctrine of infant baptism came about through a covenantal understanding of scripture. The Mosaic covenant was instituted with an outward sign, and through the family. To be consistent in that hermeneutic, they see the need for the New Covenant to also involve an outward sign (baptism) through the covenant family (including infants.)
  • The sign that Ezekiel 36:22ff gives for the New Covenant is the Holy Spirit.
  • People either interpret scripture by rules, or by experience. Experience is a poor way to interpret scripture.
  • We should question the presuppositions we bring to the text.
  • While preaching through Philippians, Andrew had to revise his view on Election. He had taken issue with friends who used Ephesians 2:8-9 to argue that the Faith that saves us is,
    itself, a gift from God. Andrew saw that they original Greek text could go either way. However, Philippians 1:29 is crystal clear, and Andrew knew his friends were right.
  • We can often handle the passages that cultists use to attempt to refute Biblical Christianity with a proper understanding of hermeneutics, beginning with simply reading scripture in context.
Scriptures Referenced
  • Mark 15:34
  • Psalm 22
  • Deuteronomy 6:4
  • Deuteronomy 28:
  • Jonah 4
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • John 3:16
  • Ezekiel 36:22ff
  • Philippians 1:29
  • John 10
Additional Resources
Related Episodes

Posted at 8:00 am in: Echo Zoe Radio
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    One Response to “Andrew Rappaport: Hermeneutics”

  1. By Richard West on May 8, 2017

    N.T. Wright is very hard on the Germanic interpretations of the scriptures that came out of the reformation. For example, Matthew 5:48 says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) Many interpret this to mean that we are to be sinless (perfect). Well, yes, we should not sin but this verse is not talking about that. “Perfect” in Greek (using the context here) means “complete”, similar to how we describe verb usage: the perfect tense or completed action. Here Christ is talking about treating the gentile as you do your brethren, treat everyone equally in love (be complete in your love).

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