As an introductory course, it seeks to acquaint students with the basic hermeneutical issues involved in interpreting the Bible and to introduce the basic steps in doing biblical exegesis. Students are supposed to get fundamental knowledge about essential steps in interpreting the Bible and about variety of methods and approaches of this interpretation.
„The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”, The Pontifical Biblical Commission, Rome 1993
III. SHORT PAPER
Students will present a short-paper (5-6 pages) of biblical exegesis. A paper interprets a short passage (a pericope chosen by students) by analyzing its literary structure, language, and textual and historical contexts. Students can help themself with the scheme „Steps to Bible Interpretation”.
Step 1 – General Context
Includes the study of the literary (author, date, audience, etc.) and historical background of a book, its purpose for being written and the main themes that it covers.
Step 2 – Literary Context
The literary context has two main emphases. First, how does our passage connect to what comes before and what comes after our text? Secondly, how does our passage connect to similar ideas in the rest of the book?
Step 3 – Lexical-grammatical Context
This is the study of specific words within a passage that may have a deeper meaning than their superficial reading.
Step 4 – The Cultural Context
This is the study of cultural factors (ideas, customs, geography) within the text that must be explained to a modern audience. (For example, if our passage includes fishermen in Palestine, the cultural context would seek to explain a bit about the fishing industry during this time period.)
Step 5 – Biblical Context
The study of parallel passages to our text in other parts of the Bible. Often, there may be an Old Testament quote within a New Testament passage. The biblical context would take us back to that Old Testament context to see what light can be shed on the interpretation of our passage.
Step 6 – Theological Context
In this step we begin to move away from strict exegesis of a passage (what did the text say to its original audience) to more of a universal application or principle. This is where we begin to make the transition from the biblical world to the modern world in terms of how to apply the Bible to our lives.
Step 7 – Application
In this step, we have now fully crossed over from the Bible to our current context. This is where we really seek to make a practical application from any text of the Bible. The truth is, however, that we need not wait until Step #7 to apply the Bible to our lives. We can begin doing this work at any step as we discover more and more about the text.