New, Higher Truths to Comprehend


Method and structure in pedagogy matter. Back in June, this quarter’s Adult Bible Study Guide, which focuses on Ephesians, opened with helpful historical and thematic details. But as the lesson moved into the chapters on slaves, marriage, and armor, it revealed the limits of a historical-grammatical hermeneutic, or what General Conference President Ted Wilson tautologically calls the historical-biblical method of Bible study. Once more: the farther out of context one interprets a verse by looking in other books, not to mention different genres or the other testament, biblical meaning-making becomes more about creativity and less about scholarship.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Thank-you for sharing your thoughts and insights for this past quarter. I have followed them each week and found ideas to share when it was “my week” to lead the discussion in our SS class at Sunnyside SDA Church in Portland, OR.

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The historical-grammatical method tries to harmonize the past with our present situation, which is an impossibility. Historical critical means we let the contradictions and inconsistencies within Scripture remain while we also try not to reconcile their differences with our current, modern perspective.

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I agree…I, too, have found helpful ideas in Alexander’s insights when it was my turn to teach in Jacksonville, FL.

Yes, but isn’t this moralizing our anthropology a bit? Or intellectualizing it? Human life is relational which encompasses the preceding, but is far more. It’s why love as the fulfillment of the law puts it in better perspective, I think.


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