The FAQs Don’t Quit

[ 4 minutes to read ]

And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.
~ 1 Kings 22:14
and the band played on

[W]hen you plant a seed, can any plant come up from it? Can corn grow from the seed of a sunflower? Paul said that God has given “to every seed his own body” (1 Corinthians 15:38), so only a sunflower will grow from a sunflower seed.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question:
What does a Bible verse mean?

Answer:
Every Bible passage means what it has always meant, which is what it meant in its original context when written.

 

Question:
Can verses have more than one meaning?

Answer:
No, a verse can only mean what it has always meant, and it can never mean what it has never meant.

 

Question:
Who determines what a Bible verse means?

Answer:
The author. Further we could say, the human author as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

Question:
What is context?

Answer:
The word comes to English from a Latin word meaning a joining together and refers to a composition or the entirety of something written. It is formed with the prefix con-, meaning together with, and the stem text, meaning something written as in a treatise or book. In reference to a written text, context means the written parts before and after the part being referred to. If we take a Bible verse like 1 Corinthians 2:4, the immediate context would be the verses before and after this verse, and the broader context would be the entire book, or letter of 1 Corinthians. Because the Bible is a unified collection of 66 books, we must also account for the intertextual usage of a passage, the broader storyline of Scripture, and the analogy of the faith, none of which will violate or the change the original contextual meaning of a verse.

 

Question:
I hear a lot about exposition these days, but what is it?

Answer:

It is true that a lot of people use that word, but it does not mean what they think it means. Exposition means explanation or interpretation. It comes into English from Old French and Latin words meaning to explain, set forth, show forth, expose. It is formed with the prefix ex-, meaning out of, or from, and the stem position, which means a statement, proposition, or thesis. In reference to a written text, exposition means explaining the author’s intended meaning in the context of the entire text. Exposition of a Bible verse is the explanation of the author’s intended meaning of that verse in its context.

 

Question:
Can you give an example?

Answer:

Sure, and I will try to keep it brief. Let’s take Psalm 105:15: “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” You have probably heard this verse explained to be a general and standing warning against doing any harm to God’s prophets and preachers. I have often heard it quoted or referred to in reference to so-called men of God today, with the meaning that no one is to question or criticize the preacher. The preacher is above such because he is God’s anointed, and numerous dire consequences have been cited for violating this injunction. Is that an explanation of the author’s intended meaning of that verse in its context? No, it is not.

In the broader context, Psalm 105 is the middle of a triad of psalms that conclude Book 4 of the Psalms with a retelling of Israel’s history from creation to the exile. Psalm 104 recounts the creation. Psalm 105 begins with Abraham and God’s covenant with Abraham and recounts the history to the exodus and conquest of Canaan. Psalm 106 recounts the sins of Israel that led to the exile. In the more immediate context, verses 9-15 focus on Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the land of Canaan as foreigners and sojourners. Verse 16 talks of the famine and starts the next group of verses that recount the story of Joseph.

In verses 9-11, the Psalmist tells of the covenant God made with Abraham and confirmed with Isaac and Jacob, and particularly the promise to give them the land of Canaan for an inheritance. Verses 12-15 tell of how they wandered in the land promised to them and were in danger from the nations inhabiting the land, but God protected them and didn’t allow them to be killed or robbed of their God given blessings. Verse 15 is God’s words to those kings and nations about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They are the anointed ones and prophets referred to. The word for anointed in the Hebrew is plural and so it means anointed ones. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were God’s anointed ones in that they had been particularly chosen by God to receive his covenant and be the ones through whom he would work his plan for the nations. They were prophets because they each received revelation directly from God and told that to their families. The point the Psalmist made is to a scattered Israel that God is the same and the God who could and would do that for their fathers will also preserve and restore Israel to that land promised to them.

 

Question:
Can’t we just realize that everyone is different with different personalities and abilities so it’s best for preachers to just get up and talk about what verses mean to them?

Answer:

(Stares exegetically)

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