BiblicalViewpoint Tools for Bible Exposition

BiblicalViewpoint Tools for Bible Exposition is a short 2 page work on tools (books) on Hermenuetics. Biblical Viewpoint is a magazine for seminary students and pastors from the Bible faculty at Bob Jones University. This excerpt is presented as a fair use of a small part of the magazine for April 1971.

BiblicalViewpoint Tools for Bible Exposition

Tools For Bible Exposition
Books On Interpretation

One of the most important books in the expositor’s library is a book that will preserve him from making the wrong interpretation of given passages in Scripture. If the preacher knows and applies these principles of hermeneutics (interpretation), he will not interpret a passage contrary to its context, or contrary to the historical background of its period Every expositor should have in his library a book which will list these principles of interpretation.

Perhaps the two most helpful books in this field are Bernard Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids Baker Bonk House, rev. ed.: 1956) and Louis Berkhof’s Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids Baker Rook House. 1950). Ramm gives a very helpful list of the principles of interpretation (pp. 107-143) and continues discussing major topics such as “The Doctrinal use of the Bible” (pp 144-165); “The Interpretation of Prophecy” (pp. 220-253). which favors the Premillennial
system; and “The Interpretation of Parables’* (pp. 254-266). Berkhof’s work is especially helpful on “Historical Interpretation” (pp. 113-132) and “Theological Interpretation” (pp. 133-166). These two books really supplement one another.

I here are many other books, however, that can prosaic additional help I he best of the old classics in this field is Milton Spenser Terry’s Biblical Hermeneutics (New York: Eaton and Mains. 1890; reprinted by Zondervan). Terry is valuable on synonyms (pp 191ff.), parallel passages (pp 221ff.) and the interpretation of types (pp 334ff.) and strongly opposed the “Alleged Discrepancies of the Scriptures” (pp. 514ff). Another good book is J. Edwin Hartill’s Biblical Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids; Zondervan Publishing House. 1947). It is strongly dispensational (pp 13ff.) and has interesting comments on “The First Mention Principle” (pp. 70ff), “The Progressive Mention Principle” (pp. 73ft), and other subjects not often treated so carefully. A. Berkeley Mickelsen’s work. Interpreting the Bible (Grand Rapids: Win. B Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1963). provides special help on figures of speech (pp. 179ff.) and the interpretation of poetry (pp. 323ff.l. and solemnly warns against “Distortion through Artificial Assumptions” (pp. 396ft).

62                                                                  Biblical Viewpoint
Another more highly specialized work is How to Interpret the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster Press. 1966) by Fred L. Fisher. Although sonic of the author’s comments can be termed “Neo-Orthodox” he does have real help in the chapters “Tools of Interpretation” (the use of commentaries. Bible dictionaries, and atlases, pp 23ff.) and “Seek a General Understanding of the Book” (urging a study of the Book as a whole before analyzing the paragraphs and verses).

The better the expositor knows the principles of interpretation, the less likely he is to err on the meaning of any given passage of Scripture. No expositor should ever take a verse out of context or force his doctrinal bias into the meaning of a passage of the Bible. His obligation is to unfold what is truly there. The books on interpretation are a real help in doing this sacred task.

BiblicalViewpoint Tools for Bible Exposition

More Posts on Improving Preaching Issues

Pastor David Cox is a missionary. See my ministry updates here.