Topic: In Chapter 6 of the Duvall & Hays text, the authors discuss the importance of the literary context. Throughout the chapter, they once again identify the key aspects we should consider related to the literary context when we engage the Bible. Pulling specifically from the Duvall & Hays text and synthesizing into your own words, write a 250300-word response to the 3 prompts below. Once again it may be helpful to you to bring in some of your personal experiences with these issues in light of what we have learned from our reading.
Answer the 3 prompts in 3 separate paragraphs, using about 100 words each.
What happens if you carefully consider the surrounding context of a passage, but ignore its literary genre?
Besides those examples cited in this chapter, what are some instances of interpreting a biblical passage apart from its immediate context? That is, give and explain an example of how ignoring the immediate can lead to an erroneous understanding or application of the text? Cite the specific passage you are discussing in your post. (e.g., Rom. 616).
When is topical preaching contextually valid? When does it disregard and violate context?
Added on 30.04.2016 17:16
below you have ch. 6 for the homework
Your Guide to Understanding
and Applying the Bible
J. Scott Duvall
J. Daniel Hays
Authors of Grasping Gods Word
Discovering the Literary Context 6 ( PLEASE READ and use it cited)
I magine that you are a college student strolling to class one day when a total stranger hits you with a one-liner: Go for it! How would you respond? Would you say, Sure, and walk away thinking that he or she was one fry short of a Happy Meal? Or would you take the message with all religious seriousness and conclude God must be speaking to you through that person, answering your prayers about your decision regarding a major, a new relationship, or whether to take the summer job?
To unveil the meaning of go for it, most of us would probably come back with a few questions of our own. What exactly do you mean? or Go for what? We would ask questions as part of our search for a context to give meaning to those three little words. Without a context, go for it can mean almost anything. Without a context, words become meaningless.
When it comes to interpreting and applying the Bible, context is crucial. In fact, we would go so far as to say that the most important principle of biblical interpretation is that context determines meaning. When we ignore the context, we can twist the Scriptures and prove almost anything. Consider the example of a young man seeking advice from Gods Word about whether to ask his girlfriend to marry him. As he dances around the Scriptures, he finds a couple of verses that provide the answer he so desperately wants with a timetable to boot.
1 Corinthians 7:36c: They should get married.
John 13:27: What you are about to do, do quickly.
The young man sees in the first verse a direct command to get married and in the second a timetable get married now! God has spoken!
What keeps us from taking this ridiculous example seriously? Context! Apparently the young man did not bother to read the entire context of 1 Corinthians 7:36c, where the apostle Paul gives advice to engaged men in light of the distressing circumstances in Corinth (notice the italicized portions [italics have been added]):
If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin this man also does the right thing. So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better. (1 Corinthians 7:36 38)
In light of the situation, Paul actually says that its better not to marry. In the second verse (John 13:27), the phrase what you are about to do refers to Judass betraying Jesus and has nothing at all to do with marriage. Under the spotlight of context, we see that these two verses give the young man no scriptural basis for proposing marriage.
Not all examples are this ridiculous, of course, but every violation of context is a dangerous matter. By honoring the context of Scripture, we are saying that we would rather hear what God has to say than put words in his mouth. Context determines meaning!
Along with knowing more about the historical-cultural context, we also need to know about the literary context. Literary context relates to the particular form a passage takes (the literary genre) and to the words, sentences, and paragraphs that surround the passage you are studying (the surrounding context).
What Is Literary Genre?
Of every passage of Scripture, we must first notice the form it takes before we look at its content, since form affects content. The word genre is a word of French origin meaning form or kind. When applied to biblical interpretation, the expression literary genre simply refers to the different types of literature found in the Bible. In the Old Testament you will encounter narrative, law, poetry, prophecy, and wisdom. The New Testament forms include gospel, history, letter, and prophetic-apocalyptic literature. Both Old and New Testaments feature a number of subgenres (e.g., parables, riddles, speeches).
Many linguists use the analogy of a game to describe literary genre. You can think of each genre as a different kind of game complete with its own set of rules. This insightful analogy shows how we as readers have to play by the rules when it comes to recognizing literary genre.
Think for a moment of a European soccer fan attending his first (American) football and basketball games. In football the offensive and defensive players can use their hands to push their opponents. In basketball and soccer they cannot. In basketball players cannot kick the ball, but they can hold it with their hands. In soccer the reverse is true. In football everyone can hold the ball with his hands but only one person can kick it. In soccer everyone can kick the ball but only one person can hold it. Unless we understand the rules under which the game is played, what is taking place is bound to be confusing.
In a similar way, there are different game rules involved in the interpretation of the different kinds of biblical literature. The author has played his game that is, has sought to convey his meaning under the rules covering the particular literary form he has used. Unless we know those rules, we will almost certainly misinterpret his meaning. 5
For communication to occur, the reader must be on the same page as the author in terms of genre. When the stranger said go for it, you could have responded with questions to clarify the meaning. But how can we clarify the meaning of the ancient authors when they are not around to field our questions? The answer is literary genre. Even though the author and reader cannot have a face-to-face conversation, they meet in the text where they are able to communicate because they subscribe to a common set of rules the rules of the particular genre.
In this way, literary genre acts as a kind of covenant of communication, a fixed agreement between author and reader about how to communicate. 6 In order for us to keep the covenant, we must let the authors choice of genre determine the rules we use to understand his words. To disregard literary genre in the Bible is to violate our covenant with the biblical author and with the Holy Spirit who inspired his message.
If you stop and think about it, you are constantly encountering different genres in the course of ordinary life. In a single day you might read a newspaper, look up a number in a telephone directory, order from a menu, reflect on a poem, enjoy a love letter, read a map showing how to get to a friends house, or meditate on a devotional book. When you meet these different genres, you know (whether conscious of it or not) tha
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