Next week... let's come with our questions from reading Matthew 6:25-34. Remember, questions are the "bridge" between observation and interpretation.
I'd like to walk through some issues around context, too. We'll look at several different ways in which Scripture needs to be "situated" before we attempt to interpret it, recognizing that we come to the Bible essentially "reading over the shoulder" of those who originally captured and conveyed the revelation of God. Our challenge as interpreters, through careful study and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is to understand and apply the timeless relevance of God's word in light of the historical/cultural, syntactic and literary occupancy of its original rendering (and later canonization). Who was speaking/writing to whom and why? What were living conditions like in ancient times? What status did certain ancient people hold within their communities--Jews, Christians, secularists, women, etc? What do the earliest public records reveal about society in general? What can we learn from the geography, climate and environment? In terms of the words, what precedes a given verse? What follows it? What is the relationship of a phrase to a sentence to a paragraph to a section to a book to a canon to the whole? What genre of literature are we exploring and how can this guide our study? These are the types of questions you begin to probe as we consider context and the pivotal role it plays in hermeneutics.
Our esteemed women's minister--KP to you and me--has asked me to identify three goals for our group, which I've done:
1. Grow to know and love the incredible God we encounter in Scripture.
2. Take this learning and cast it outward (by testimony and example)--evangelize and teach others.
3. Better understand and develop one's personal ministry (today) and think in terms of the future (what's next?).
Would be very interested in hearing about your own goals for our group, friends. Maybe we could also spend a bit of time on this next week.
Have a great week all!
p.s. We meet next Tuesday as scheduled then take a week off for Spring Break.