Questions of Biblical Hermeneutics (was "RE: b-greek digest: September 02, 1999")

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Sep 05 1999 - 07:46:59 EDT

At 6:54 AM -0500 9/5/99, Jay Adkins wrote:
>Dear Phil,
>I would like to second the recommendation of Gordon Fee's book on
>hermeneutics, "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth," for a short but
>useful chapter or two on the subject. Also I recently had the chance to
>teach a Sunday School class on 1 Thess. which had as one of its main goals,
>in addition to a verse by verse exegesis, to give people a sense of
>confidence in their English translation regardless of which of the major
>translations they used. I used my own translation along with 4 others.
>Too often laymen hear things like, "literally the original says" or "from
>the original language we get the idea that," ECT... This gives some a
>false impression that no matter what translation we use, unless we learn
>the original languages we are missing out from not knowing these mystical
>languages. It is a form of present day Gnosticism that I think needs
>addressed. While I like to encourage people to read several translations
>when they study, I think they should have confidence in God's ability to
>speak to them through those translations they have available. Not everyone
>has the opportunity to study Greek & Hebrew, nor is there a need. While I
>would encourage anyone who has the chance to do so, it is not needed in
>order for God to speak clearly and authoritatively to His Church. It is
>the Spirit that leads us to all truth, not Greek.

May I suggest, particularly with regard to Jay's last statement, that while
many--perhaps most--list-members may agree with that view, it carries this
discussion over into the area of hermeneutics and doctrinal questions where
list-members bring different assumptions to a discussion like this. Whether
the guidance of the Spirit renders the assistance of resources of Greek
scholarship valueless for understanding and interpreting Scripture is no
slight question, but it is NOT a question for discussion on B-Greek. PLEASE
let's keep our focus here on questions concerning which our understanding
of Biblical Greek CAN be mutually beneficial.

Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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