Re: miscellaneous

From: H. Fred Nofer (
Date: Mon Apr 14 1997 - 20:50:53 EDT

On Sun, 13 Apr 1997 14:17:12 EDT Lynn A Kauppi <>

>In reference to Heidi Pope's question:
>It is an assumption on your part, Heidi, that each New Testament text
>has only one meaning. Some examples: Luke is often called the "gospel
>of prayer" because prayer is a major emphasis (including three
>parables (11:5-8, 18:1-8, 18:9-14) but he also emphasizes the
>resurrection and numerous other themes. In Acts, Luke variously treats
>the outreach to the Gentiles, the God-fearers, etc. My dissertation is
>about the (minor) theme of Luke's critique of Greco-Roman religion in
>Acts. Paul spends much of 1 Thessalonians discussing the return of
>Christ and comforting or exhorting the community. What do we make of
>the various ethical pronouncements in chap. 5 if 1 Thessalonians has
>only one theme? Paul's Corinthian correspondence treats apostolic
>authority, community factionalism, sexual impropriety, etc.
>Our own understanding of an author also depends upon our questions and
>our "social location." I ask cultural and sociological questions and
>seek parallels in archaeology and Greco-Roman literature. A minister
>asks, "How can I apply the text to my church right here and now?"
>Marxists have asked questions, so have Freudians, and so on and so on.
>Try reading Christopher Blount, Cultural Criticism (Minneapolis:
>Fortress, 1996) which discusses one text in Mark from the perspectives
>of Bultmann, African-American preaching and spirituals, liberation
>theology, and a few others.

I have somehow erased Heidi's post, but from the above I wonder of your
analysis deals with another question? Was Heidi making a statement about
the theme of a book coloring every passage? Or was she talking about a
specific interpretation for a specific passage in the book? I believe
most would admit that a particular book as a dominant theme, but
certainly, as you point out, that is not the only subject dealt with in a

Your statement that there may be a multitude of applications that can
and are made of Scripture is certainly valid. This is one of the many
facets of the Bible. But I would suggest that there may be a blurred
line between interpretation and application in your post. I find that
this particular lack of distinction colors much translation as well
today. I believe that a strong case can be made that there is only one
interpretation for a given writer at a given point, in most instances, at
least. However, once that intended interpretation has been ascertained,
then it is possible, within the realm of the implications of that
interpretation, to make many applications. However, the applications
that might be seen by Marxists, Freudians or the little old lady in the
back pew, does not dictate the correct interpretation of Paul or John or
Luke. The interpretation, whatever that may be, stands regardless of the
applications that may rightly or wrongly be made. Confusing
interpretation with application is a common practice these days, and
produces much uncertainty regarding the meaning of Scripture. If I am
reading this paragraph of your post correctly, I believe application is
what is actually being discussed and not interpretation.

H. Fred Nofer, Th.D. "XARITI QEOU"
Faith Bible Church
244 Courtney Lane
Reno, NV 89523 e-mail:

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