Unit 1: Scripture
This is the ability to comprehend and appreciate the various aspects of different faiths &
Understanding and Interpreting the Bible: The Next Level
Influence of the Bible
An important source of Christian beliefs is the Bible
Some protestant Christian faith groups follow two of the main slogans of the
reformation: Sola scriptura: Faith is to be based on the Bible alone.
4 Methods of Interpreting the Bible
Interpreting the Bible literally (Sola Scriptura)
Interpreting the Bible as a historical document
Interpreting the Bible as midrash (Hebrew word referring to a method of
exegesis of a Biblical text.)
Interpreting the Bible as folklore.
7 Keys to Understanding Scripture
Look for the authors intended meaning
Read a passage in context
Identify the genre of the passage you are reading
Consider the historical and cultural background of the Bible.
Consider the grammar and structure within the passage
Interpret experience in light of Scripture, not Scripture in the light of experience.
Always seek the full counsel of Scripture.
Women In The Bible Leviticus 27:6 Between the ages of one month to five years old, males are
worth 5 shekels of silver, and women are worth 3 shekels of silver. This verse of
the bible shows that women were undervalued compared to men.
Biblical Scholarship & Criticism
This is the professional and academic study of the Bible. Bible comes from the Greek
word biblios which means book. The Bible is an anthology or collection of books. A
Christian Bible has 66 books 39OT/27NT. A Catholic Bible has 73 books, 7 apocryphal
books in the New Testament. Which books were in the Bible were set by Emperor
Constantine (made Christianity the official religion of the roman empire) in the Canon.
The most effective Biblical scholars are not Christian or Jewish because they are more
Types of Biblical Scholarship
Source Criticism : You study and deconstruct the text based on where the
information was gathered. So basically you interpret the validity or
authenticity of the source. The most common Biblical source criticism is the 4
source criticism for analyzing the 4 gospels of the New Testament.
o Mark Luke,Matthew (60 CE)
o Matthew (70CE)- Luke
o Q- Luke Matthew (Unknown outside source)
o Luke Matthew (70ce)
o John (80-90ce)
Mathew, Mark, and Luke are synoptic gospels. John wrote his own gospel.
Within Source criticism, there is another huge challenge. This is with Lacunae.
These are gaps or holes in the text. Some Lacunae are physical holes that
were made by bugs or vermin.
Textual Criticism- You analyze the text at its most basic level. However textual
criticism requires and understanding of the history and culture from when
and where the text was written.
Form Criticism- This breaks down the Bible into various sections. It basically
divides the types of writings in the Bible by genre. For example. i)
Prose/Poetry ii) Letters III) Laws. IV) Prophecy. V) Prayers. VI) Histories. In
Form criticism, the writing needs to be placed into context historically,
Redaction Criticism- This studies the process of editing. This is cannibalistic in
nature. It is the criticism of criticism.
Canonical Criticism- This attempts to evaluate the reasons why Constantine
selected the books he did for the New Testament. He chose accounts that
emphasize Christs divinity because it would ease the transition for the
romans whos pagan belief system was all about the supernatural nature of
Rhetorical criticism- This form traces its origins to St. Augustine (4 C CE.) In this
form of criticism, questions are asked that no answer can be provided or
found. It does bring about discussion.
Narrative Criticism- This analysis treats larger sections of the Bible as one distinct
unit. For Example. Prophecy, even though it happened over centuries it can
be treated the bible the same way.
Psychological Criticism- This is a perspective. For example, a conservative
Catholic/Christian will perceive scripture radically differently than a
moderate or liberal.
Socio-Scientific Criticism- This is a multi-disciplinary approach. It uses the skills of
social sciences mostly anthropology. They study the story behind the story.
Postmodernist Criticism- This is a return to traditional Criticism. Approach of
study. The Old Testament- Analysis
The first 5 books of the Old Testament are called the Pentateuch. These books
are attributed to Moses. It is usually organized as the following:
BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The 39 books of the Old Testament are divided into 4 main classes of literature.
o A) The LawThese are outlines in the first 5 books of Moses. The law is
more than the 10 Commandments. These were only a starting point.
Many laws and rules were created as a response to actions that had
o B) HistoryThis is found in Samuel I & II (Kings Saul, David & Solomon),
Judges (ex) Sampson, Kings I & II, Esther, etc. These books outline the
life of The Jews during the period from Moses to the final prophecy.