Maybe the laws of physics have remained constant (but maybe not?), but at the vary least God’s way of relating to the world and his people (which we sometimes call a “covenant”) changes as we move from one age to the next. So the two ages are different, and that difference is a sign to the scoffers and to the church that God is at work and will bring about his purposes and promises.
To be more specific: in this presentation I will argue that CMT does provide an efficient and non-redundant tool set for exegetical analysis of figurative language in Scripture. It does this in at least three areas. (1) Linguistically and anthropologically, it highlights structural patterns of human thinking and communication that establish continuity and connection between modern and ancient audiences. (2) Historically, it encourages the exegete to study and personalize the particular kinds of experiences that would have structured the original author’s conceptual world and how those experiences inform the metaphorical association under scrutiny. (3) Pastorally, it opens up opportunities to explore other possible metaphorical associations consistent with, but not explicitly affirmed by, the original author.
Doesn’t being “confessional” mean that certain kinds of questions are, by definition, verboten? Wouldn’t that in turn mean that academics in those institutions have to sacrifice the “science” of biblical and theological study upon the altar of confessional consistency? Not at all. I believe the opposite is the case.
We are confessional, which means we stand in the great tradition and ask “what’s next.” And we are Biblical, which means that when we ask that question we turn to the Word of Christ, working through the Spirit, and find it both fit and suitable for the building up of the church, for the race that we are called to run.
The only way to keep your Greek and Hebrew is to read Greek and Hebrew. I think you probably already knew that was the answer. You just didn’t want to admit it. But the languages are just like everything else: if you don’t use it, you’ll loose it. So what we really need is not a trick or a gimmick, but a reading plan. In the rest of this post, I will offer two.
Pay careful attention to the opening section of any discourse. The first five minutes of a movie, the first chapter or so of a novel, the opening introduction of a sermon, the first paragraph of a newspaper article—all of these “first moments” are specifically designed to orient you to the thing that you are reading or hearing or watching. Remember, authors generally want to be understood, and because they want to be understood they want to set you up to read well.
Over the years we have trained ourselves to read the Bible in an unnatural way, so we’re going to have to break some bad habits. We are trained to read the Bible verse-by-verse, but in keeping with the “ordinary reading principle” we need to change our habits. We should ordinarily be reading the Bible paragraph-by-paragraph or, even better, book-by-book.