Methods of Interpretation

Take a look at brother David Wayne’s site for his conviction on
Reformed amillennialism and his reasoning behind the binding of Satan.
The first post is mostly anecdotal while his second is more an
apologetic of his thinking. One of the things that stood out for me was
David’s use of the recapitulation method of interpretation of
Scripture, which I find faulty.

Mind you, I love this guy. The brother writes some great posts,
evidences solid thinking and is open to criticism. He even loves comic
book movies and Alias, something that we heretics admit liking before
getting sent back to our corner of the room.

At one point, Brother David is discussing how dispensationalists
tout a literal reading of the Bible and yet they don’t read the Bible
literally. His example referenced the literal interpretation of {{James
2:24}} supporting justification by works—which no protestant supports.
He pointed out that the reason [X] person doesn’t believe in
justification by works is that they use other Scripture to interpret
that portion.

The brother does the same thing in his binding of Satan post. He
looks at Revelation 20:1-3 by recapitulating verses (cf.
{{Matt 12:25-29}}, {{John 12;31}}, {{Col 2:15}}, {{Heb 2:14-15}}, {{1
John 3:8}}) and then decides the meaning of the passage.

Now, the brother acknowledges that the method could be faulty,
that’s why this isn’t a post to attack him but it’s more a questioning
of the method. Here’s my problem with it: the Bible isn’t written this
way. The books that make up the Bible don’t often reference each other
in the way that folk like to organize things (note my study method and potential problems of deduction). I can’t see the books in the Bible making their
individual interpretation reliant on that sort of method.

James (Jacob rather) wrote his letter as a whole. Paul wrote his
letter to the Romans as a whole. John wrote the Revelation as a whole.
That being the case, understanding a letter should at first be limited
to what the author of the letter itself is saying. Otherwise, a person
simply can create connections across various authors to speak a new
message: something that Rick Warren is openly criticized of doing
(although I would argue the point).

Also, when Jacob (or Paul, or Peter, or John, or Matthew) wrote
their letters they had a purpose. Often there is an overarching point
and similarly there are minor points throughout the letter. For
instance, the letter to the Corinthians has an overarching goal but in
the sections throughout the letter you see how that overarching goal is
handled in singular areas; be it divisions, conduct in the church, the
matter of spiritual gifts, etc.

Now, when these guys wrote their letters they would reference First
Testament passages because that’s what they had. In those cases, the
reader is invited to look back to those earlier testament writings to
see what the New Testament author is saying and how they’re using those
portions. That is an outright invitation to look at the historical
documents to see how they apply in the current conversation (cf. {{John
3:14}}).

James only teaches justification by works if you pull his verses
from the surrounding context of his letter. When you read the rest of
the letter and the portions he references you’ll come to a different
conclusion without drawing from Paul or John. In fact, when you start
reading simply James, you’ll be impressed on how Paul and him say all
the same things.

-r-

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