40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible


In 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, New Testament Professor Dr. Robert L. Plummer tackles the major questions that persons ask about reading and undestanding ...
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In 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, New Testament Professor Dr. Robert L. Plummer tackles the major questions that persons ask about reading and undestanding the Bible.

Questions include:
Does the Bible contain error?
Were the ancient manuscripts of the Bible transmitted accurately?
What is the best English Bible translation?
Is the Bible really all about Jesus?
Do all the commands of the Bible apply today?
Why can't people agree on what the Bible means?
How do we interpret historical narrative?
How do we interpret the Psalms?
What does the Bible tell us about the future?
What is the "Theological Interpretation of Scripture"?
and many others

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Theological Seminary - Darrell Bock
"Read this excellent primer and read the Bible better as a result."
Wheaton College - Kevin J Vanhoozer
"Aristotle once said that those who wished to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions. Plummer asks forty of them. Even better: he answers them, providing beginning students with all they need to know about biblical interpretation in general and the specific kinds of texts found in the Old and New Testaments in particular."
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Bruce A Ware
"How approptiate that Plummer's 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible is itself eminently understandable, crystal clear, and thoroughly engaging. The organization and breadth of coverage make this book both a delight to read and highly instructive....I can't imagine a more helpful introduction to the subject of biblical interpretation."
First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL - Pastor Emeritus
"It is a wonderful thing to teach a person the Bible. It is even more wonderful to teach people how to study the Bible for themselves. Plummer has given us a helpful survey relative to how to understand the Bible. You will profit greatly from his insights."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780825434983
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • Publication date: 4/22/2010
  • Series: 40 Questions and Answers Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 315,068
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert L. Plummer (PhD) is associate professor of new Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Bible scholar with a missionary heart, he wrote Paul's Understanding of the Church's Mission: Did the Apostle Paul Expect the Early Christian Communities to Evangelize? and his articles have appeared in Westminster Theological Journal, Journal of the Evangelical Theologcal Society, New Holman Bible Dictionary, The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, and other publications. He is a member of the evangelical Theological Society and the Institute for Biblical Research.

Benjamin L. Merkle (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of New Testament Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of 40 Questions about Elders and Deacons.

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Read an Excerpt

This book is intended to help you understand the Bible. As a New Testament professor, I regularly teach an introductory course on biblical hermeneutics (interpretation) at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I have had difficulty finding a textbook that covers briefly and accurately all the issues that we survey in that course. (Topics covered in my course include: canon, manuscript transmission, English Bible translations, general interpretive questions, approaches to the major literary types in the Bible, and current hermeneutical debates.) I wrote this book in order to address these issues in one volume. Ideally, this book will serve as a textbook for an introductory Bible course at a college or seminary, but I endeavored to write so that the book will be beneficial to any curious Christian. My goal was to be accessible without being simplictic and scholarly without being pedantic, while always keeping an eye to practical questions and real-life application by the Christian reader.

--from the Introduction

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Table of Contents

Foreword Andreas J. Köstenberger 9

Introduction 11

Abbreviations 13

Part 1 Getting Started: Text, Canon, and Translation

1 What Is the Bible? 17

2 How Is the Bible Organized? 23

3 Who Wrote the Bible-Humans or God? 31

4 Does the Bible Contain Error? 37

5 Were the Ancient Manuscripts of the Bible Transmitted Accurately? 47

6 Who Determined What Books Would Be Included in the Bible? 57

7 Which Is the Best English Bible Translation? 69

Part 2 Approaching the Bible Generally

Section A Questions Related to Interpretation

8 Why Is Biblical Interpretation Important? 79

9 How Has the Bible Been Interpreted Throughout Church History? 85

10 What Are Some General Principles for Interpreting the Bible? (1) 95

11 What Are Some General Principles for Interpreting the Bible? (2) 101

12 How Can I Improve as an Interpreter of the Bible? 109

13 What Are Some Helpful Books or Tools for Interpreting the Bible? 117

Section B Questions Related to Meaning

14 Who Determines the Meaning of a Text? 127

15 Can a Text Have More Than One Meaning? 135

16 What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Determining Meaning? 143

17 What Is the Overarching Message of the Bible? 151

18 Is the Bible Really All About Jesus? 161

19 Do All the Commands of the Bible Apply Today? 167

20 Why Can't People Agree on What the Bible Means? 175

Part 3 Approaching Specific Texts

Section A Shared Genres (Questions Apply Equally to Old and New Testaments)

21 How Do We Identify Literary Genre-and Why Does It Matter? 185

22 How Do We Interpret Historical Narratives? 191

23 How Do We Interpret Prophecy? (General Guidelines) 197

24 How Do We Interpret Prophecy? (Typology) 205

25 How Do We Interpret Apocalyptic Literature? 213

26 How Do We Interpret Exaggerated or Hyperbolic Language? 219

27 How Do We Interpret Figures of Speech? 227

Section B Primarily Old Testament Genres

28 How Do We Interpret Proverbs? 235

29 How Do We Interpret Poetry? 243

30 How Do We Interpret the Psalms? (Classification of Psalms) 249

31 How Do We Interpret the Psalms? (Principles of Interpretation) 255

Section C Primarily New Testament Genres

32 How Do We Interpret Parables? (History of Interpretation) 265

33 How Do We Interpret Parables? (Principles of Interpretation) 271

34 How Do We Interpret Letters or Epistles? (Structure and Nature) 279

35 How Do We Interpret Letters or Epistles? (General Guidelines) 285

Part 4 Issues in Recent Discussion

36 What Does the Bible Tell Us About the Future? 293

37 What Is Biblical Criticism? 299

38 What Is "Speech Act Theory"? 305

39 What Is the "Theological Interpretation of Scripture"? 313

40 What Are Some Other Recent Trends in Biblical Interpretation? 321

Postscript 327

Select Bibliography 329

List of Figures 331

Scripture Index 333

Ancient Sources Index 347

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