Carrying on the divine conversation

Summary and reflection on Nicholas Wolterstorff’s 4-part article series entitled: The God Who Speaks

The view that God is speaking as this has been somewhat of a contentious topic among the present theological landscape, in light of this I would like to tender a summary of four articles written by Nicholas Wolterstorff entitled: The God Who Speaks.

Using Augustine’s conversion story Wolterstorff, pushes forward a thesis that the God of the Bible is very much a speaking God[1]. By weaving Scripture with Augustine’s conversion, He argues that God spoke to people as reported in Scripture, he argues: God spoke to Augustine by way of a child’s sing-song; and God spoke by way of Scripture itself; lastly God spoke, above all, in and through Jesus Christ. The God of Scripture the God of Christian experience who spoke in diverse ways and on many occasions to human beings[2].

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Analyze these!

A summary of Grammatical-Structural Relationships from Klein, Bloomberg, and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

In this portion of the book the authors’ Klein, Bloomberg and Hubbard’s note the indispensable place of grammatical study in Bible interpretation as Scriptures also finds its place in a copious communication process where the study of grammatical rules that field includes morphology and syntax play a vital role in understanding the written text.

Looking at it in this light reminds me of this experience during church services where I could no longer count how many times I’ve heard the term: ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ especially at youth services where the minister would make a call for personal piety in the congregation, via the use of 1 Corinthians 6: 19. However, it is safe to say that as far as being true to Scriptures the such an interpretation falls short of its actual meaning if it were to be looked at in its original context –since the use of the pronoun: ‘you’ in the passage has a very different function in the grammatical structure of its original Greek.

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For the sake of consistency

A summary of Historical-Cultural Background from Klein, Bloomberg, and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

This may come as a shock to many –but the Bible is not written specifically for us.

In the duration of our study in Hermeneutics it has been ingrained in us that  biblical interpretation is the process of carefully studying the biblical text in order to understand its meaning and relevance, first of all in the past, and secondly in the present.

Accordingly the process of analyzing the biblical text in its original context in order to clarify or understand what it means implies that the task of the exegete is to allow the text to speak for itself. Exegesis then focuses on the then of the text rather than the now of contextualized meaning. For that reason, Jeannine Brown writes: “exegesis is the task of carefully studying the Bible in order to determine as well as possible the author’s meaning in the original context of writing.[1]” Therefore engaging in biblical interpretation means that the exegete is to be engaged in a cross cultural task, as it involves bridging gaps or distance of time and location, language and culture.

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Bridging the continuity gap

A summary of Sidney Greidanus’ Textual-thematic preaching from The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature

I speak from experience when I say that I often end up with a confused understanding of a certain bible passage after hearing it preached in a sermon. I gather that it is perhaps because of the fact that contemporary preachers when doing an exegesis on a passage often do not have a framework on recognizing the passage’s theme and not to mention have a systematic method of formulating the passage’s theme that they’ll be delivering in a sermon –thus leading to a muddle up preaching that confuses both the preacher and the congregation that hears the sermon because the preacher failed to bridge the historical-cultural gap and show how the ancient text is relevant to its modern audience.

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John 1:1-18 | The movement from domestication to revelation

I believe I was a high school sophomore when Joan Osborne’s song One of us became a chart topping hit. In the song the composer, Eric Bazilian, tries to deal with various aspects of belief in God by asking questions and inviting the listener to consider how they might relate to God. The song’s intro begins with a serious contemplative question that echoes the deepest yearnings that a lot of people had about what they would like to be set clear about God as the verse goes:

“If God had a name, what would it be

And would you call it to his face

If you were faced with him in all his glory[1]

That verse somehow got stuck to my head from that point on, in spite of the irony that it was also during that time that I started to underwent my local church’s discipleship program. And it wasn’t until a few years following my graduation from college, after years of staying away from my community of faith that I came to realize that the answer to the question posed in the song’s verse is a unanimous: “yes,” because Scripture testifies that truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

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Hebrews 4:12 | Pierced by the Word

The word of God is sharper than a double-edged swordFor the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews  4:12 NIV)

To most of us a sword is a long, edged piece of metal, used for cutting, thrusting, and as a weapon. For those of us who grew up watching cartoons, the image of Voltes V, carving a flaming letter ‘V’ in the body of an enemy ‘Beastfighter,’ would be how we would picture out the way someone would use a sword.
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Divine Revelation

Our initial point is that God himself wills to reveal himself. He himself wills to attest his revelation. He himself — not we — has done this and wills to do it.1

We will now study the subject of God revealing Himself to humanity—the doctrine of revelation. Revelation can be defined as “God’s supernatural disclosure to human beings of truth they would not otherwise know and are incapable of discovering on their own.” This communication may be either oral or written. Revelation is usually understood as God’s written communication to humankind.

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