Class Notes: 1/28/2009
2Tim 1:13-14 The mandate for believers to retain and protect sound doctrine cont....
The mandate of the PPOG for the church age believer that we are presently examining is found in 2Tim 1:13; where we have the command to retain the "standard of sound words" or doctrine and in verse 14 we have the command to " Protect” that doctrine.
In verse 13 the word translated "retain" in the NASB, "hold fast" in the KJV and "keep" in the NIV is the second person singular present active imperative of the Greek word "echo" that means to " keep on having" the present tense signifies action in progress or in a state of persistence, the active voice shows that the believer performs the action of the verb and the imperative mood is a command.
So we have the command for the believer and especially the communicator of Bible Doctrine to hold on to and to guard "the pattern of sound words" that have been taught by Paul.
Given the mandate to hold to and protect this "pattern of sound doctrine" we are presently examining the system that pastor is to use for the development of that doctrine.
The pastor must be dependent upon the Holy Spirit and submissive to a systematic approach to the interpretation and exposition of the Scripture, the independent pastor is guided by the text of the scripture rather than some denominational statement of beliefs.
This systematic approach to the text requires the development of the science of systematic theology, that is defined by: Lewis Sperry. Chafer in the Preface of his Systematic Theology as follows:
Systematic Theology is the collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting, and defending of all facts from any and every source concerning God and His works.
Theologians have no permission from God to restrict the field of theology to the material found in the standards of their respective denominations or the more or less restricted teachings of the uninspired leaders who formulated those standards.
The divine revelation in its entirety, and not merely the portions of it which harmonize with accepted dicta, challenges the student of doctrine.
The development of an orthodox systematic theology demands that the Scripture be approached by a system that accurately and efficiently "collects, arranges, compares, exhibits, and defends" the facts it examines.
This system must view the Scripture through the prism of dispensational hermeneutics.
A good definition of dispensationalism can be found in Dispensationalism Today by Charles Ryrie:
Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. Eph 3:2; Net note 3 Col 1:25;
In this household-world God is dispensing or administering its affairs according to His own will and in various stages of revelation in the process of time.
These various stages mark off the distinguishably different economies in the outworking of His total purpose, and these economies are the dispensations. The understanding of God's differing economies is essential to the proper interpretation of His revelation within those various economies.
Correct interpretation is accomplished by hermeneutics that is a science in that it can determine certain principles for discovering the meaning of a document. It is also an art because principles or rules can never be applied mechanically but involve the skill of the interpreter. The hermeneutics of dispensational teaching include the following principles that are required for accurate and precise biblical exposition.
These are summarized in the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology. Pages 9-11
Dispensationalists believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. One has to embrace such a view of Scripture, especially when believing in a prophetic plan yet to be fulfilled in history by a God who will keep His Word.
Dispensationalists are consistent in studying the Scriptures from an historical-grammatical methodology or "literal" hermeneutic. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is interpreted by the same rules of grammar and language that govern the interpretation of literature in general
Dispensationalists believe that God set forth His plan of the ages progressively; that is, not everything is explained at once. For example, the doctrines of the Trinity and the church were revealed, "line upon line." The succeeding biblical generations were given an unfolding revelation until a doctrine was fully developed.
God has dealt differently with mankind at distinct times in history. The Lord worked differently with Abraham than He did with Moses and Israel. He now works differently with His church than He did with the Jews under the Law. Dispensationalism is the recognition of these distinct economies in biblical history.
World history will not end suddenly with the return of Christ. For His own divine purposes, the Lord laid out a plan for end time events. This plan involves the exit resurrection of the church, the Tribulation judgment of the nations, and the restoration of the Jews to their promised King and kingdom. Then follows a judgment of the lost and the new heaven and earth.
Dispensationalism recognizes these and other prophetic events and holds to them in their proper order.
Although the salvation of the elect is part of the merciful plan of God, dispensationalists believe that the Scriptures teach that the outworking of His providence will bring glory to Himself, not simply the salvation of the lost.
What God has purposed for the angels, the lost, the nation of Israel, and creation itself will ultimately bring honor and glory to Himself.
In order to examine some of the problems that have developed because of erroneous systems of hermeneutics. We must define the term "allegory" as it applies to biblical interpretation:
The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. Pages 27-28: defines:
Allegory as The use of language to convey a deeper and a different meaning from that which appears on the surface.
In biblical usage a distinction must be drawn between allegory as a medium of revelation and allegory as a method of interpretation. There are undoubtedly allegorical passages in Scripture;
Paul explicitly declares his use of the method in Gal 4:21-31;(see verse 24 NET note 35) but evidently this was a departure from his usual practice.
In the early church, allegory found expression, in the works of Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, and Tertullian.
Jerome, Hilary, Ambrose, and Augustine gave more or less prominence to the allegorical hermeneutic. Bernard of Clairvaux was the supreme allegorist of the Middle Ages.
Thomas Aquinas took up the earlier fourfold system of interpretation and made it normative for Catholicism. It was not, however, until the time of the Reformation that the allegorical method was seriously challenged.
An Example of poor hermeneutics is described in the Dictionary of Premillennial Theology on pages 142-143: where we have the definition of Medieval Hermeneutics.
Medieval Hermeneutics as The logical, grammatical principles used to interpret and explain the Bible in the middle Ages were dominated by allegorical persuasions and the authoritative doctrinal rule of the papacy.
A shift from the literal hermeneutic of the first-century church to an allegorical approach began to take place as early as the third century.
Origen was the first theologian to spiritualize, or explain away, the future kingdom as the present reign of Christ in the human heart.
During the middle Ages, millenarianism or the belief in the future millennium or 1000 year rule of TLJC was generally regarded as heretical.
A movement that came to be known as scholasticism began around the year 1000AD with Anselm and Thomas Aquinas recognized as the most influential leaders.
Depending almost exclusively on the allegorical method and giving no recognition to the importance of the original language of biblical texts, this movement further perverted the truth of Scripture.
This method of interpretation dominated the middle Ages and was characterized by unlimited speculation without any objective or consistent standard for correctness.
Medieval interpretation was influenced and restrained by three factors: the prevalence of illiteracy among both the clergy and the congregation; the study of Scripture was restricted primarily to monasteries; and the desire to support the dogmas of Rome.
One of the most significant dogmas that developed from medieval hermeneutics was transubstantiation.
Declared as dogma by Pope Innocent III in 1215, it decreed that priests had the power to transform the bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
From the middle Ages also emerged the dogma of purgatory that proclaimed the temporal punishment and purging of sins by fire was necessary for entrance into heaven.
With no literal support from Scripture, it has been used by Rome to supplant God in His righteous judgment of sin.
It was in conjunction with this doctrine that the practice of selling indulgences developed. The church began to give indulgences as a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins by means of reducing time spent in purgatory.
In 1302 (Pope) Boniface VIII's bull decreed that submission to the pope "is absolutely necessary to salvation."
Since Rome interpreted the kingdom of God as the church, the with this edict pope wielded dogmatic control over people's eternal destiny. With the "keys to the kingdom" he exercised the power to open and close the gates of the kingdom based on people's allegiance to him.
In the late fifteenth century, the biblical legitimacy of Catholic doctrines that had emerged after the third century came into question. Three men who challenged Roman orthodoxy became prominent figures in the Protestant Reformation.
Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar and ordained priest, initiated the movement in Germany: In Merriam-Webster's Biological Dictionary. page 652 we have the following regarding Martin Luther:
On a mission to Rome in 1510-11, Luther was unfavorably impressed by conditions. As professor of biblical exegesis at Wittenberg (Germany), he began to preach the doctrine of salvation by faith rather then by works. He attacked the church's sale of indulgences and, on October 31, 1517, nailed to the church door at Wittenberg his 95 theses questioning the value of the indulgences and condemning the means used in selling them. He went further than the indulgence issue by later denying the supremacy of the pope.
Huldrych Zwingli was a significant figure in the Reformation's development in Switzerland. A summary of this reformer is also provided in Merriam-Webster's Biological Dictionary on page 1129:
By his preaching, Zwingli established the Reformation in Switzerland in 1522. He became the leader in political and religious affairs throughout Switzerland and was conferred at Marburg (Germany, Europe's first Protestant university) with Saxon reformers, including Luther, in 1529.
Zwingli accompanied Zurich troops as chaplain in their campaign against Catholic cantons [i.e., states] and was killed at the battle of Kappel [Switzerland], October 11, 1531.
The battle of Kappel was the last of the the Kappel Wars that are described in the Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 5 page 702:
Kappel Wars, the name given to two incidents of the Swiss Reformation, taken from the monastery of Kappel on the border between the states of Zurich and Zug. The first incident arose when five Catholic member states of the Swiss confederacy formed the Christian Union, which allied itself with Austria to prevent Zurich from spreading Protestantism over the territories ruled by the Swiss confederates jointly.
Zurich thereupon launched an expedition against the Christian Union, but the fighting was negligible, and an armistice signed at Kappel on June 24 (1529) was followed by an agreement whereby the Catholic districts renounced their Austrian alliance and conceded freedom of religion in the common territories.
The five Catholic confederates, however, soon felt that Protestantism was in fact being forced on the territory; and in the autumn of 1531 they suddenly declared war against Zurich. Zurich's hastily raised troops were defeated in the Battle of Kappel, October 11, 1531, and Zurich's Protestant leader, Huldrych Zwingli, was killed. The second peace of Kappel, November 23, 1531, upheld the claims of Catholicism throughout the controversial areas.
John Calvin was a French theologian who was also instrumental in the development of Protestantism in France and Switzerland.
Merriam-Webster's Biological Dictionary states the following regarding Calvin:
Calvin adopted Protestantism in 1534 and settled in Basel Switzerland where he published his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion. In Geneva in 1541 he succeeded in establishing the organized Reformed church.
In 1559 he founded at Geneva a theological academy that became the University of Geneva. His writings brought into one body of doctrine the scattered unsystematic reformed opinions of the period.
These are just three of the more prominent men of the Protestant Reformation that engaged in the debate regarding the hermeneutical principles and translations of scripture that were to be used that ultimately became known as Reformation Hermeneutics.
Dictionary of Premillennial Theology on page 163 states the following regarding Reformation Hermeneutics:
The historical sparks that ignited the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation were many, but the hermeneutical debate was at the center. The Reformation was a time of social and ecclesiastical upheaval, but it was primarily a hermeneutical revolution. It introduced a revolution in the interpretation of Scripture the effects of which continue to the present.
Growing dissatisfaction with the allegorical method fueled a desire for a better interpretive approach. Thus, the stage was set for the Reformers' rejection of allegory and adaptation of the literal historical-grammatical method.
The Renaissance, beginning in the fourteenth century in Italy and extending into the seventeenth century across Europe, had a direct impact on the Reformers. There was a revival of interest in classical writings and particularly in their historical character, including the Bible and its historical background.
The Renaissance also witnessed a renewed interest in the study of ancient languages, including Hebrew and Greek, providing scholars with a fresh glimpse into Scripture.
In 1506 the philologist Johann Reuchlin began to publish several books on Hebrew grammar.
In 1516 Desiderius Erasmus , the leading humanist of the Renaissance, edited and published the first modern edition of the Greek New Testament (Textus Receptus) with a fresh Latin translation appended to it.
The publications of Erasmus, in particular, introduced a new era in biblical learning and went far toward supplanting the Scholasticism of the previous ages by better methods of exegetical and theological study.
The increasing interest in the early Greek and Hebrew manuscripts exposed many translation errors in the Latin Vulgate, undermining the absolute authority it had enjoyed in supporting church doctrine.
The Roman Catholic Church had staked its own authority in part on the Vulgate. Now, doubts about the accuracy of the Vulgate cast shadows of doubt on the authority of the teachings of the church.
The rediscovery of the original languages, suppressed for centuries by reliance on inferior Latin translations, opened up an entirely new approach to biblical revelation. Once the Latin shroud was removed then those who looked intently into the original languages discovered salvation by grace, not by works, revealed by literal interpretation, not allegory.
Dictionary of Premillennial Theology on pages 163-64 states:
As a monk, Luther had been schooled on the allegorical method that had held a stranglehold on the church during the Middle Ages and medieval period. However, while lecturing on Romans and the Psalms, he became disenchanted with the traditional allegorical method of the Roman Catholic Church.
His attempt to wrestle with the exegesis of the text led him to confront the inadequacies of his hermeneutical heritage. The allegorical method created only a confusion of multiple meanings, none of which adequately dealt with what he confronted in the biblical text.
Luther rejected the allegorical method and has strong words for it: "Allegories are empty speculations and as it were the scum of Holy Scripture." "Origen's allegories are not worth so much dirt." "To allegorize is to juggle the Scripture." "Allegorizing may degenerate into a mere monkeygame." "Allegories are awkward, absurd, inventive, obsolete, loose rags."
Luther abandoned the allegorical meaning and affirmed that Scripture had only a single meaning or (sensus unum). The single sense was the historical-grammatical meaning: "Only the historical sense gives the true and sound doctrine." This is discerned by applying the ordinary rules of grammar in light of the original historical context.
He also stressed the literal sense or (sensus literalis). The Scriptures "are to be retained in their simplest meaning ever possible, and to be understood in their grammatical and literal sense unless the context plainly forbids." His rejection of traditional allegorization was revolutionary; its implications quickly snowballed.
By rejecting the esoterism of allegorical interpretation, Scripture became accessible to ordinary thought; the basic meaning of Scripture became clear and simple to Luther.
While the allegorical approach led only to confusion, the single historical meaning revealed the clarity of Scripture.
Luther asserted that the study of the original languages should be stressed: "We shall not long preserve the Gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which the sword of the Spirit is contained."
What Luther discovered was the Bible in its original state and he decided to interpret it as it was written. And it was written in Hebrew and Greek.
The Bible is an inspired text. The Holy Spirit guided selected men to write divine instruction. God created man with the mechanisms prewired in the brain to process language. The languages through which God intended to communicate with mankind were Hebrew and Greek.
Therefore the first task for the interpreter is to acknowledge the languages in which the Scripture is written and then allow the grammar and the historical setting in which each of its parts were composed to lead him to at a correct translation.
The Old Testament is written in ancient Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. But to correctly identify the dialect of the Greek is a critical:
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., defines "dialect" as:
A regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language such as the Doric dialect of ancient Greece.
The New Testament is written in Koine Greek. But this fact was unknown to Western translators until the late nineteenth century.
This is of crucial importance because of the many Greek dialects that existed and means that prior to the late nineteenth century the translations performed by translators and expositors who assumed the New Testament was not a Koine Greek manuscript were affected by this ignorance.
This is one of the reasons that the modern translations are more accurate than the earlier translations.
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