Exegesis

Dictionary.com

noun, plural exegeses [ek-si-jee-seez] (Show IPA)
1. critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.


Etymonline.com

1610s, “explanatory note,” from Greek exegesis “explanation, interpretation,” from exegeisthai “explain, interpret,” from ex “out” (see ex-) + hegeisthai “to lead, guide,” from PIE root *sag- “to track down, seek out” (see seek (v.)). Meaning “exposition (of Scripture)” is from 1823. Related: Exegetic; exegetical; exegetically.


This week’s term, exegesis, is straight-forward and the above definition hits its meaning clearly. Even so, there are a few things I’d like to point out about its use.

Exegesis is at the center of exegetical theology as it deals with the text thoroughly. Because of this, it is closely related to what is called biblical theology. All of this includes particular attention to the original languages that the biblical texts were written in (namely Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic). We also pay close attention to the historical context of the texts and the writers. I don’t want to dive too deep here as this term (exegesis) will be addressed again when I post on exegetical theology. With that in mind, I’ll leave things here for now.

Remember past posts can be easily found under the Series Links which is also where you will find the other series I have created.

Also feel free to check out my Patreon page where you can see updates on the work done here. You can also donate to the work and get rewarded. Thank you.


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Mothers

Today’s Mother’s Day!

A time that we remember and appreciate the women in our lives that we call “mom”.

(I would include the biological as well as non-biological women who have filled the calling we call mom.)

Today’s post will be short as I have just this simple message:

Mother's Day

Show the mothers in your life that you care about them and what they do!


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Gospels

Dictionary.com

noun

  1. the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation.
  2. the story of Christ’s life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) any of these four books.
  4. something regarded as true and implicitly believed: to take his report for gospel.
  5. a doctrine regarded as of prime importance: political gospel.
  6. glad tidings, especially concerning salvation and the kingdom of God as announced to the world by Christ.
  7. (often initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical. anextract from one of the four Gospels, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
  8. gospel music.

adjective

  1. of, relating to, or proclaiming the gospel or its teachings: a gospel preacher.
  2. in accordance with the gospel; evangelical.
  3. of or relating to gospel music: a gospel singer.

Origin: before 950; Middle English go(d)spell, Old English gōdspell (see good, spell2); translation of Greek euangélion good news; see evangel1

Related forms
non·gos·pel, adjective


As you can see, depending upon whether the word is singular, plural, or different context, meaning of the term seems to vary.

The term by itself means as you see in the origins section – good news. The good news of the Scriptures would be the first 4 books of the New Testament (NT) which include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Each of these books are named after their writers. Each tells the story of Christ. Matthew and Mark are the most alike. Luke has much in common with the first two, but it includes the perspective of a physician as Luke was what we call today a doctor.

These first 3 books of the Gospels are often called the Synoptic Gospels because of their commonalities.

John is unique. This becomes immediately obvious upon reading just the first few verses of John 1. You see an immediate emphasis on the deity of Christ and this continues throughout the book. As such, the story of Christ as God is what you read in John resulting in not all of the same events as in the first 3 being told.


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Unction

Dictionary.com

noun
1. an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.
2. an unguent or ointment; salve.
3. something soothing or comforting.
4. an excessive, affected, sometimes cloying earnestness or fervor in manner, especially in speaking.
5. Religion.
the oil used in religious rites, as in anointing the sick or dying.
the shedding of a divine or spiritual influence upon a person.
the influence shed.
extreme unction.
6. the manifestation of spiritual or religious inspiration.


Etymonline.com

“act of anointing as a religious rite,” late 14c., from Latin unctionem (nominative unctio) “anointing,” from unctus, past participle of ungere “to anoint” (see unguent).


This term may not appear as much as some but it can easily sound foreign to even a Christian if they haven’t stopped to consider its meaning and context.

To follow are some words from the message spoken at my own church this morning on this very term:

Unction is the “manifestation of spiritual influence and inspiration; it is the special filling or coming of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Word of God run from the mouth of the preacher to the hearts of the hearers!” An unknown Scottish preacher defined unction this way: “It is a sweet violence that pierceth into the heart and affections and comes immediately from the Lord. We call it unction.”

 


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Theology – part 3

Theology can be said to have 4 broad categories or areas of focus within it. These would include:

  1. Exegetical Theology
  2. Historical Theology
  3. Systematic Theology
  4. Practical Theology

Exegetical Theology. It is looking at the Bible as such; it “…includes all that belongs to the explanation and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures (1).” This is the area of theology focused on things such as Greek text, Hebrew text, textual criticism, hermeneutics, exegesis, biblical theology, and more. This area always begins with looking at the text of Scripture itself and the interpretation of its content.

Historical Theology. This traces the history of Church doctrines and their development. This area of theology naturally traces doctrinal differences, the Church’s understanding of the Scriptures, and the Church’s response to heresy. As this area closely follows the Church through history, you also see the rise & fall of territorial and denominational differences.

Systematic Theology. This theology can be described as the “child” of the previous two. From dictionary.com, it is “…a form of theology in which the aim is to arrange religious truths in a self-consistent whole (2).” It includes apologetics, dogmatics, ethics, and polemics. This is where various studies of the faith come together into a greater, cohesive framework. Dispensationalism and Covenantalism are theologies of the systematic sort as they seek to tie various scriptures together, albeit, with different approaches (giving implications of differences in other areas of theology as well).

Practical Theology. If systematic theology is the “child”, practical theology is the “grandchild” of the first two areas. As the name implies, you get to see Scripture lived out. This includes areas of study within homiletics, liturgy, poimenics, catechetics, church order, and missions. All of these involve the methodologies employed as the gospel is shared in preaching, worship, outreach, and more.

With each of these broad areas, there are sub-areas as you have now seen. Some of these have already been addressed in previous posts as part of this series, and I have therefore linked them for your convenience. Expect to see some of these other terms in future posts for your reading convenience.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/E/exegetical-theology.html
  2. dictionary.com

Torah & Pentateuch

Dictionary.com

Torah

noun, ( sometimes lowercase)
1. the Pentateuch, being the first of the three Jewish divisions of the OldTestament.Compare Tanach.

2. a parchment scroll on which the Pentateuch is written, used in synagogue services.
3. the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud.
4. law or instruction.

Etymonline.com

Torah

“the Pentateuch,” 1570s, from Hebrew torah, literally “instruction, law,” verbal noun from horah “he taught, showed.”

Pentateuch

first five books of the Bible, c. 1400, from Late Latin pentateuchus (Tertullian, c.207), from Greek pentateukhos (c. 160), originally an adjective (abstracted from phrase pentateukhos biblos), from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + teukhos “implement, vessel, gear” (in Late Greek “book,” via notion of “case for scrolls”), literally “anything produced,” related to teukhein “to make ready,” from PIE *dheugh- “to produce something of utility” (see doughty). Glossed in Old English as fifbec.


In this week’s post, things are easily defined. The Torah is the Hebrew term for what is also called the Pentateuch (Greek/Latin). In other words, they are two names from different languages for the exact same thing. You will also hear it called “The Law” in English as this is a translation of the Hebrew term.

Personally, I find both terms helpful. Torah = the law which is very telling of the content contained within. Also, to call it the Pentateuch is helpful as Penta means 5 as is seen above in the etymonline entry. There are 5 books in the Pentateuch/Torah which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament section of the Bible.

That’s all there is to it. Of course, there are other names for other sections of the Bible but that’s out of the scope of this post. Look’em up if you’re curious!

 


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Holy

Dictionary.com

adjectiveholier, holiest.

1. specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated:

holy ground.
2. dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
3. saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
4. having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
5. entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
6. religious: holy rites.
7. inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror.
nounplural holies.
8. a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.

Etymonline.com

holy (adj.)
Old English halig “holy, consecrated, sacred; godly; ecclesiastical,” from Proto-Germanic *hailaga- (source also of Old Norse heilagr, Danish hellig, Old Frisian helich “holy,” Old Saxon helag, Middle Dutch helich, Old High German heilag, German heilig, Gothic hailags “holy”), from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured” (see health). Adopted at conversion for Latin sanctus.

Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but probably it was “that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated,” and connected with Old English hal (see health) and Old High German heil “health, happiness, good luck” (source of the German salutation Heil). Holy water was in Old English.

Holy has been used as an intensifying word from 1837; in expletives since 1880s (such as holy smoke, 1883, holy mackerel, 1876, holy cow, 1914, holy moly etc.), most of them euphemisms for holy Christ or holy Moses. Holy Ghost was in Old English (in Middle English often written as one word). Holy League is used of various European alliances; the Holy Alliance was that formed personally by the sovereigns of Russia, Austria, and Prussia in 1815; it ended in 1830.


Obviously, the word “holy” has quite a history and didn’t always mean what it does today – at least in the common vernacular. Scripturally speaking, we see much more consistency as to its meaning.

The definitions above hint or point to the words meaning but don’t come out and say it so I will. The word “holy” is to be “set apart”. It designates sacred things, persons, etc. because these are set apart from others in one fashion or another. It is a word that says something both about what it is describing as well as what is not being described with that word.

When talking about God, this means God is inherently separate from human beings. This becomes all the more obvious when considering God’s other characteristics.

  • He is infinite. We are finite.
  • He is immortal. We are mortal.
  • He is spirit. We are created material.
  • He is holy. We are inherently unholy.

…I think you start getting the idea.

 


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Old vs Young-Earth Creationism (Creationism part 4)

Summation Chart – Young vs. Old Earth

Young-Earth Old-Earth
Thousands of years Millions even billions of years
A literal reading of Genesis 1-2 An at least partially symbolic reading of Genesis 1-2
A largely unified position Unified in old planetary/universe age and in symbolic reading. Varied on just about everything else.
 The creation story is historical narrative. The creation story is allegory, metaphorical, etc. At most, it is only partly narrative.
The fall of man brought death into the world (though there are those who do allow some form of death before the fall). Death was part of the creation from very early and definitely before man’s fall.
Accepts science but rejects anything that appears to clash with the literal interpretation Accepts much of what has been found by modern science as fact

Young and Old-Earth creationists hold mankind to be a special creation of God.

I hope this mini-series has serviced to help shed light on the subject of creationism. If any of this has peaked your interest, I recommend you use the material here as a starting point. To follow, you will find additional information that will help you in such an endeavor.

For further reading:

If you have yet to read the previous Creationism articles, use the following links to take you to each. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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Old-Earth Creationism (Creationism part 3)

Old-Earth

 Is there unity among those who hold to this view?

There is in regards to what has been spoken in the following questions; however, there is greater variance within this camp when compared to young-Earth. Some common names that appear include:

Progressive creationism

Gap theory

Day-age theory

Framework Hypothesis

Some would also try to include theistic evolution here which I addressed in part 1 of Creationism as to why it makes no sense. Day-age theory tends to have many of the same issues as theistic evolution. What’s more, not everyone uses all of these terms consistently which makes things all the more murky to understand &/or keep straight.

How is the creation week in Genesis 1 to be read?

In general, those who take an old-Earth view do not take the Genesis account of creation completely literal. Differing angles will go about this each in their own way. Even so, they often claim the text is to be taken as symbolic in some form or another and to varying extent.

What is the time-scale for all history in this position?

Irrespective of the particular variant subscribed, old-Earth views are called such because they have accepted the extensive amount of time commonly seen in secular science. There is no issue, in old-Earth positions, in accepting the evidence given that point to an ancient planet and even cosmos. This would include accepting Earth to be some 4.5 billion years old.

What is the time-frame for the creation week?

It is not composed of six literal, 24-hour days – at least not six days alone anyway. Progressive creationism and day-age theory treat the days as long periods of time. Gap theory still has days but puts in a gap of time between the first and second day. Framework has “days” that are considered “artistic literary devices” and thus are not literal, allowing for large amounts of time in the creation week.

Any other particular points of note?

Progressive creationism, gap theory, and framework hypothesis consistently treat human creation separate from the naturalistic development of other life.

Day-age theory often falls into the same trappings of theistic evolution because it is often used as an explanation to validate those who claim theistic evolution. Its overuse of naturalism makes most that would espouse it to even deny the specific creation of man – relegating man to being no different from the rest of creation (subject to a single-celled beginning, macro-evolutionary path).

Among all the variants commonly associated with the old-earth camp, the framework hypothesis is the only one that seems to truly deal with the text. The other variants tend to assume or force a more symbolic/figurative approach on the text whether it makes sense to or not. Framework actually allows for literal interpretation as it sees Genesis 1 as a combination of historical narrative and poetry. The result is more of a historical “drama” that can be taken literally at points and metaphorical at others.


That was part 3 in a mini-series on Creationism within the -ologies & Key Terms series. There is a 4th and final part to come in this mini-series next week.

Have any questions? Need something clarified? Please leave a comment!

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Young-Earth Creationism (Creationism part 2)

Note: This and the following article will be organized by questions which set the stage for a later post that will compare/contrast the two over-arching views side-by-side.


Young-Earth

Is there unity among those who hold to this view?

In a word, yes. There is some variance within this camp but it is largely from person to person and in regards to precise timings of specific events. Overall, those of this view commonly believe a strictly literal approach that puts the words of Scripture as they’re written above any other science or view.

How is the creation week in Genesis 1 to be read?

Genesis is looked at as historical narrative. Therefore, it is to be read and understood word-for-word or, in other words, literal. Word usage in Genesis has been shown to support that which is typically found in narrative – if you weren’t aware, words used in a given text typically vary from one type of literature to another (ex. poetry would have different word use from narrative).

What is the time-scale for all history in this position?

This position ages the earth around 6000 years old. Some allow for a little bit more time to as much as 10,000 years. Some theologians have even gone as far as to calculate out the exact days on the calendar for each day of the creation week. Nowhere does this view allow for hundreds of thousands of years or anything beyond.

What is the time-frame for the creation week?

With a literal interpretation, the creation week is thereby taken literally as well. Each day is a real-life literal day of day and night. As such, the creation week is a literal 6-day week with each day having its own sunrise and sunset. I do not mention the 7th day of the week as that was the day God rested from creating and is thereby not part of the creation debate (most would agree).  

Any other particular points of note?

ICR – Institute for Creation Research, CRI – Creation Research Institute, and Answers in Genesis are among the more common names of organizations who take Young-Earth Creationism quite seriously. These organizations regularly work to represent a literal understanding of Genesis as well as proliferate data and research that supports their position.

Young-Earth adherents are also the ones that most regularly stand against evolution, even in organisms not human. This is an area where they receive ridicule from those who disagree; however, not everyone who is young-earth denies evolution. Particularly among those adherents who are more science-minded, they would agree that evolution takes place but would say it does not go to the extent of everything having started from a single cell. They would subscribe to what is called micro-evolution which is a term commonly used to refer to changes within a species (not one species becoming another which would be macro). The changes observed within species are the area of evolutionary biology that has the most supporting evidence. As such, it is not accurate to say that a young-earth creationist is to be equated with an evolution denier despite the fact that certain young-earthers do in fact deny it (the deniers are an ever-shrinking group).


Next week’s post will be on Old-Earth Creationism – part 3 of this mini-series within the -ologies & Key Terms series.

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