It is often said that biblical interpretation requires one to understand a passage's historical context. However, this raises several important problems.
Why does the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, in the midst of his rigorous argument regarding the New and Old Covenants (diatheke), introduce the rough analogy of a will (diatheke) or does he? The common interpretation understands Hebrews 9:15-22 as an analogy made between a biblical covenant and a will; I briefly contend here that better sense is made of the text if we read diatheke as a covenant between God and man—not a will.
It is interesting to observe that the New Testament Epistles and much of the Old Testament Wisdom literature have a function that closely parallels the case laws of the Torah. This observation helps us see that the contemporary approach to exegesis that attempts to adduce universal principles from Biblical texts misses the point of their … Continue reading Wisdom Literature and Epistles as Case Laws
Have you ever wondered why Evangelical Christians who believe the Bible to be inerrant and authoritative do not require women to veil themselves in the Church? Is that not the clear meaning of 1 Corinthians 11, often interpreted as referring to the veiling of woman (e.g., ESV “if a wife will not cover her head, … Continue reading Is a Covering Long Hair or Veil? Interpreting 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Context and Meaning Context is essential to understanding all communication, yet why is this the case? In this article, I contend that context both limits and reveals textual meaning so that texts can be used. Texts of every sort are “multivalent”; they have a wealth of meaning potential. A text is meant to say something … Continue reading An Investigation into the Role of Context in Interpretation