How to Read – Chapter 4 (2nd Period)


Inquire below.


19 Replies to “How to Read – Chapter 4 (2nd Period)”

  1. Question: Why doesn’t the Bible condemn slavery?
    Answer: Slavery was much different in the first century. Many times people would sell themselves into slavery and it was nothing like slavery in the south. Masters usually treated their slaves with dignity and treated them as fellow people. If Paul were to condemn slavery, he may insight a rebellion and change should be made internally not through social uprising. In Philemon, Paul urges Philemon to free his slave, Onesimus. This shows that Paul wanted Philemon to change his heart by his own choice and not force him to change. Many times in the New Testament Paul tells masters that they should treat their slaves with respect and dignity.

    Question for Webster: What was with homosexuality in Bible times and what is the problem with homosexuality today? What are the negative consequences of homosexuality in today’s society?

  2. Question: Why are the morals that people live by for centuries [set by Christianity] becoming so rejecting in modern day culture?
    Answer: Western culture is a melting pot of differing beliefs. While the European and American cultures may have been based on Christian values for centuries, they were subject to change as new cultures came into contact. In today’s world, people write Christianity off as a religion only pleasing to the racist, the sexist, and the imperialist. People do want to accept the values of a country based upon a religion that opposes their beliefs. This standpoint is understandable to an extent, but it brings to question, what defines morals for a person if they reject Christianity’s moral standards? This issue has been apparent in every century, but it has grown in current times. Human are in love with the idea of not being metaphorically chained down by morals. While western culture may discourage people from upholding Christian values, Christians must not be discouraged and attempt to conform to cultural norms. The never ending change in cultural views has nothing on us when compared to the divinity of the scripture.

    Question: The chapter states the verse from 1 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers,” is unclear in its intention. Do you think that modern day Christians should try to apply this verse to their lives without understanding its original meaning?

  3. Question: How can we keep a consistent interpretation of Paul’s letters and not just pick and choose what verses we like?

    Answer: Scripture doesn’t put us in charge. We are created, not the Creator. We are recipients of the Scripture’s meaning, not creators of it. We should definitely establish what the core doctrines of the Bible are. The falleness of man, redemption from this through Christ’s death on the cross, etc., are clearly part of the Bible’s central doctrines.
    In addition, remember that Bible study is an act of worship and must be in obedience to God. Historic confessions and creeds are also helpful in protecting churches from following their own “cereal-aisle hermeneutics.” Other tips include keeping in mind the cultural differences from the era in which the text was written to our modern-day culture.

    Question: Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a modern-day church council and come to a sort of consensus about the issues in question today such as women having leadership positions in the church? Also, what if people don’t agree about the core doctrines of the Bible (meaning the 6 essentials)?

  4. Question: Why does the task-oriented style theology of the Epistles seem to be different from systematic (common/ standard) theology we hold true now?
    Answer: There are a couple reasons why Paul’s theology within the Epistles seems unfamiliar to us. Paul sometimes writes on topics outside our theological understanding. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 states that the people of Corinth will judge the world and angels which doesn’t seem very likely for such sinful people. There is no way for us to know what this means. In addition, we find ourselves using Paul’s letters to Corinth as answers to culturally relevant issues such as abortion and infant baptism. The Epistles are documented correspondence between Paul and various churches. They address specific issues and questions asked but were not meant to be a general guide to theology. It is important to keep in mind that the Bible is inspired by God. His word gives us all we need but not always all that we want.

    Question for Web: Since God knew that we would read the Bible years and years after it was written, why didn’t he include passages about issues we face today?

  5. How timely are the morals Paul lays out?
    In todays world, what is right for you is right for you and what is wrong for someone else could be right to the next person. Compared to the next person what may be good ethically could be terrible to someone else. There is even a dissolution of the idea that there is an absolute moral framework to follow in the first place. Even in Christian circles, the idea of moral relativism is prevalent. Yet according to data, the same people who do not think there are any absolute morals also believed that murder and homosexuality were wrong. The problem is then that the same people who hold these things to be wrong don’t hold it to be wrong for all people universally. Today somebody has the freedom to choose what he can have as his or her moral standard, and those that would set a universal moral is judgmental and or intolerant. Paul was in this same world when he wrote his epistles. Corinthians was absolutely confused about a lot of moral values. Sexuality in particular was incredibly confused in the Corinthian setting. When our world is as confused as the Corinthian church, Paul’s message about all the morally wrong behaviors is especially relevant. Paul puts forth that there is only one right way to enter the kingdom of heaven, by God’s grace and by the salvation Jesus offers.

    You have often said that our generation is a tolerant generation, but in your opinion has our generation lost the ability to tell others that what is wrong is wrong?

  6. Question: Why can’t women become pastors or elders in a church?

    The Bible only mentions men becoming overseers in a church. 1 Timothy 3: 1-7 includes what qualifications they must have in becoming an overseer like to be faithful to his wife, manage his own family well, see that his children obey him, and other examples. 1 Corinthians 11: 3-16 also clearly mentions the hierarchy which is God, Christ, man, and woman, these apply to the church and to the home. Finally, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 prohibits women from occupying this office in the church. It says, “ A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

    Question: Are there world problems today which the Bible does not point to as right or wrong? If so what should we do?

  7. Question: How do we know if we should take commands in the Bible literally?
    Answer: Most of the commands aren’t meant to be taken literally. They are trying to paint a picture so that we can understand what it’s saying. Often times, critics read the scriptures and don’t look at it literally and take things offensively. Instead, we should read it in an ordinary way. Which means we should take it in the way that the writer had intended it.

    Question: Since we shouldn’t take the Bible out of context, how can we relate it to our lives now in the 21st century?

  8. Question: What is a woman’s role in a church, especially in regards to preaching and head coverings?

    Answer: Paul argues from creation, not culture, meaning that women are made from men, as well as for men. It is inconsistent to reject Paul’s appeal for women to wear head coverings while affirming his command for women not to teach or have authority over men. In both teachings, Paul uses the creation based reasoning. We take one as trans-culturally applicable, but not the other. But further studying shows that the head covering only applies to the culture to which it was written. Women should not teach over men is trans-cultural and remains today. This is because women should not be in authority over men. While no man or woman should sit on the sidelines of Christian ministry, there are different ways that God calls us to be in ministry. 1 Timothy 2: 11-12 says 11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.


    Question for Web: How do we avoid selective reading?

  9. Question: The book notes that 2 Corinthians 6:14 has been subjected to extended application. What then was the intended purpose of the verse?

    2 Corinthians 6:14 has commonly been linked to prohibiting marriage between believers and non-believers. Although this is a biblically sound principle, it was not what the verse was fully getting at. The verse is referring to ministry being done by a believer and a nonbeliever. Christians and non-Christians should not do ministry together, because they have different ethical foundations. There is no common ground between them or basis upon for collaborating in spiritual ministry. Paul goes on to say that the believers live in the light while non-believers live in darkness. Furthermore, Christians are pursuing righteousness while non-believers have their thoughts focused elsewhere.


    Question for Mr. Webster: Is it possible to read the Bible without viewing it with your background or situation?

  10. Question: How can God’s answers to old problems speak to twentieth-century Christians?

    Conventional hermeneutics here must take two steps. First, one needs to do their exegesis with particular care so that he or she can “hear what God’s Word to them really was”. Typically, a clear truth has been communicated. This factor can usually transcend the historical difference that took place, and provide a great application even in modern day. Second, one must understand that the studied principle does not now “become timeless to be applied at random or whim to any and every kind of situation”. It should only be applied to genuinely comparable situations (so that God’s Word is not misunderstood or wrongly interpreted).
    Modern Christians must also keep these 6 principles in mind when interpreting ancient issues.
    Interpretation must be based on the author’s intention of meaning and not the reader
    Interpretations must be done in the context of the passage
    Interpret the Bible literally (or normally) allowing for normal use of figurative language
    Use the Bible to help interpret itself
    Interpretation must be distinguished from application
    Be sensitive to the type of literature you are in.

    How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth

    Question for Mr. Webster:
    How can you answer the complex idea of hermeneutical questions to new believers?

  11. Question: How does cultural relativity affect how some people view the Bible?

    Answer: The question often arises; Since the epistles were written so long ago, how can we relate this to our cultural problems? As Christians we need to take the events of the Bible and apply them to our lives, even if the cultures contrast greatly. Some people who reject the concept of cultural relativity, often have a difficult time proving their point. Instead of rejecting the idea of cultural relativity, we need to recognize the difference and alter the teachings to our own lives. We must remember how Christ brought cultures together. “First, Christ is the Reconciler of cultures — he is the one who can bring people of different cultures together. Second, Christ is the Redeemer of cultures — he brings wholeness and hope to people of all cultures. Third, Christ is the Ruler of cultures — he is the one who establishes the standards by which all cultures are ultimately to be judged.”


    Question for Web: Why must exegesis always come before hermeneutics?

  12. Q: What are the two basic rules of Biblical hermeneutics?

    A: Biblical hermeneutics is the science of how to properly interpret the various types of literature found in the Bible to discover their intended meaning. The first basic rule is that a text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his or her readers. The second basic rule is that whenever we share comparable particulars with the first-century hearers, God’s Word to us is the same as his Word to them.


    Q for Web: How do our individual interpretations of the epistles change the original meaning that Paul intended for them to have?

  13. Question: The second rule of hermeneutics says that “Whenever we share comparable particulars with the first-century hearers, God’s Word to us is the same as his Word to them.” How can we be sure that our situations are comparable?

    Answer: The book included an example that I have heard a lot growing up in the church. The example that the dwelling place that God has set aside for the spirit should be respected and “whoever destroys that will come under God’s awful judgment.” This message was made to the local church in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. The book, then, said, “can this message be applied to individuals now?” Whoever abuses their body, will they suffer God’s judgment? This brings up the argument about tattoos and piercings on Christians. But the book said that the best thing to do is to limit what God says on some issues to their original intent.

    Source: How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, Fee & Stuart, 76

    Question for Webster: Why can’t women lead in the church?

  14. Question: What are hermeneutical questions?

    Hermeneutics by definition is concerned with interpretation especially of the Bible or literary texts. It is often said that the Bible can be interpreted anyway you want. “Some issues that we as Christians face regarding the topic of biblical interpretation include: How does divine inspiration and human authorship affect biblical interpretation? What does a text mean? What are some general principles of interpretation? How do we interpret the Old Testament? How do we interpret the New Testament? These are all critical questions for us to consider as we seek to become better interpreters of God’s word, the Bible.”


    Question for Web: How should we handle passages that seem as though they could be taken literally or are left open to interpretation? How should we find what God intended us to receive from his message?

  15. Question #1 – What does the book mean when it says that we “do” hermeneutics all the time?

    Answer – It has been a commonplace of mainline Western hermeneutics, at least since Schleiermacher, that it is possible, indeed likely, that the poet or the evangelist, was writing at one level, of conscious intentionality, but that we can detect within the poem levels of meaning of which, in the nature of the case, the writer was unconscious. This is the grander version of the well-known phenomenon of the unintended pun, which may perhaps reveal, at a Freudian level, something of which the speaker was unconscious. – N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, pg.56

    Question #2 – Why is it that cultural relativity is the place where the problem of God’s eternal word having been given in historical particularity comes most sharply into focus?

  16. Question 1- This chapter talks about how to distinguish matters of indifference between cultures and how it can be more acceptable in some cultures than in others… My question is how do you draw a line in small categories even such as in food, clothes, etc.

    Answer- The answer I found does not have a clear and concise answer of all the ways a person can sin. However it did give what sin can look like in the world and the forms it takes on. Sin creeps into the world by going against or disrupting our human nature, law, the human heart, and divine revelation. I take this as if in whatever you are doing and you know where to look for sin you will be able to see how you are falling short of Gods standards. People just need to understand that we can compare our life to Jesus and scripture to tweak and adjust our lives to his actions. Everybody can have their own personality and style of their day to day life but to avoid sin we all need to go back to God’s standards and not our own.

    Question 2- This talks about cultural differences like the question above. The part I have a trouble with are other religions. Why is it that so many people believe in other religions. Why has God put all these other religions into the world?

  17. Question: The text says “many of the specific situations in the Epistles are so completely conditioned by their first century setting that all recognize that they have little or no personal application as a word for today.” Why is there so much writing in the that is not directly applicable today? Why did God choose to include things that are inapplicable to us?

    Answer: It is clear that throughout Scripture there is much that we read that we cannot take a direct, literal interpretation of and apply it directly to our lives. It may be unclear as to why some of this stuff was included in the Bible, but if we believe the Bible we believe that it is completely, 100% God-breathed. Therefore, everything we read is there for a reason. Even though parts of the Bible are not directly applicable to us they were very relevant in the first century and centuries immediately following the first. Also, some of the things that do not directly apply to us help us understand other things that we do not understand about the Bible. The most important thing to remember is that we can never fully understand God, who he is, and what he does. If we knew what God knew we would choose his way every time. Therefore, God can include whatever he wants in his Scripture even when we may not understand why He chose to put it there.

    Question: Can we trust human beings to translate the Bible into modern day language without changing the meanings of the verses? Is it best to read the Bible that is directly translated from the original Hebrew text?

  18. Q1: Why are the morals that Paul played out only recently being rejected so fervently?
    A: Most european and american civilizations have been influenced strongly by christianity in the past and it is only since the rise of humanism and individualism that people have begun to reject christian morals. In the modern world, people are not a fan of being told what they can and cannot do, so they do not like that there is someone above them that holds them accountable for their actions. Today, we place a high value on accepting everyone and being inclusive, so something like the Bible that has rules and excludes people who do not follow those rules is seen as repulsive and unhelpful. Even though the Bible isn’t really sexist or racist, but because it mentions slavery and submission in marriage, people interpret that poorly and dismiss the Bible and reject its morals.
    Q2: Do people that have strict convictions like wearing head coverings and dresses all the time think it is a sin for people not to? If so, do they think that people who don’t are going to hell and if not, why do they do it if it isn’t a sin?

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