the teaching tools of scripture
study the bible using the teaching tools (plain meaning, narrative) 2015 jul 17
Last time we saw how to use Scripture’s teaching tools of the plain meaning of the text, and learning from the narrative, to let Scripture itself teach us. Today let’s go a step deeper and look at the teaching tools of pattern and repetition, breaks in pattern, and comparison and contrast (review the teaching tools of scripture for more information about these teaching tools).
Scripture often establishes a pattern, or repeats words, phrases, and themes, to draw our attention to them. Once we have noticed a pattern, a break in the established pattern also becomes noticeable, and is a teaching tool to draw our attention to something significant.
|Genesis chapter 1||My notes|
|… 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. …… 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. …
… 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. … 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day. …
… 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. …
… 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. … 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. …
… 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. … 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. …
At the end of each Creation day: “So the evening and the morning were the first, second, third, (and so on) days.” In my Hebrew research, I came across: “Terence Fretheim observes, ‘When the word “day” is used with a specific number, it always has reference to a normal day.’” Jim Stambaugh, “The Days of Creation: A Semantic Approach,” Journal of Creation 5, Apr 1991. It is as if God is emphasizing what unit of time was meant so that there would be no misunderstanding.
BREAK IN PATTERN
On the 1st day of creation, God pronounces what He had made, good. Likewise on the 3rd through 6th days, but He breaks the pattern and pronounces nothing good on the 2nd day. The 2nd day is the creation of the firmament of Heaven. The Jewish scholars say that the rebellion of the adversary was on the 2nd day, which made the separation of the spiritual from the natural, the heavens from the earth, necessary. God’s uni-verse, intended to be one as He is one, was no longer united but divided.
Another prominent teaching tool is that of comparison and contrast. The comparison or contrast between two similar or opposite things throws a spotlight on each, which is revealing.
|Psalm 1||My notes|
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
The ungodly, sinner, and scornful are contrasted to the man who does not walk, stand, or sit as they do, but who delights in the Lord’s way outlined in His law. This man is termed “the righteous.” The righteous will be like a fruitful tree, while the ungodly will be like chaff. The way of the righteous shall prosper, the way of the ungodly shall perish.
|Matthew chapter 5||My notes|
|… 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. …
… 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” …
vs. 3-12. Nine “Blessed bes” describing situations we normally see as not blessed, which are however blessed in reality.
vs. 21-48. Six “You have heard that it was saids” to correct misinformation and misinterpretations of the Law.
|Matthew chapter 6||My notes|
|1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” …||
vs.1-18. Four instances describing the ways of those who act religious, who are actually hypocrites, compared to the those who are truly spiritual.
The Word of God is full of repetitions, patterns, and comparisons and contrasts from Gen to Rev – they are far and away the most common teaching tools embedded within Scripture. Next we will get into deep waters with studying the original Hebrew of the text, one of my very favorite tools!
study the bible using the teaching tools (original hebrew, part one) 2015 aug 02
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