Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM


Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.


CMIN 301 (Su '17) T05a - Preaching the Meaning in Their Town (Part 2)

The historical/cultural context and the literary context

Hartmut Scherer

on 17 May 2017

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of CMIN 301 (Su '17) T05a - Preaching the Meaning in Their Town (Part 2)

(Adapted from Zondervan Academic Resources for "Grasping God's Word)
The Historical-Cultural Context
Why bother with historical-cultural context?
We must listen to God’s message (or interpret) in a way that honors how God chose to communicate.
Historical-cultural context gives us a
into God’s original meaning as reflected in the text.
We must determine what a text meant in “their town” before we can determine what it means and how we should apply it in “our town.”
Why was he writing?
What is historical-cultural context?
What was happening at the time the book was written?
Concerning the biblical
, we will ask:
Concerning the biblical
, we will ask:
to focus on:
Studying historical-cultural context . . .
. . . can be tedious.
. . . can make the passage explode with
relevance—sometimes more than
we can take.
. . . is only a tool to help us grasp
God’s Word
The Literary Context
(Adapted from Zondervan Academic Resources for "Grasping God's Word)
Two major kinds of context:
What is literary genre?
We encounter different literary genres in everyday life:
Telephone book
Devotional book
Forms of literature in the Bible:
Old Testament
To understand what the biblical authors are saying (and what God is saying through them), we must “play by the rules” of the genre game they selected.
To grasp God’s Word, we must understand the meaning of the text which involves 5 essential items
Who was the author?
What was his background?
When did he write?
What was the nature of his ministry?
What kind of relationship did he have with his audience?
Who was the biblical audience?
What were their circumstances?
How was their relationship to God?
What kind of relationship did they have with each other?
God did not choose to speak directly to everybody at all times and all cultures.
God chose to speak through the human writers of Scripture to address the real-life needs of people at particular times in a particular culture.
We study the historical-cultural context to see what God was saying to the biblical audience.
This time-bound message contains eternally relevant theological principles that we can discover and apply to our lives.
Once we understand the meaning of the text in its original context, we can apply that meaning to our lives in ways that will be just as relevant.
Guiding principle: For our interpretation of any biblical text to be valid, it must be consistent with the historical-cultural context of that text.
Genre means “form” or “kind.”
Love letter
Math textbook
New Testament
Theological History
Literary genre is like a game with its own set of rules
Context of a passage
Danger of disregarding the literary context
Any passage that surrounds your passage (text)
Give the highest priority to
We can make the Bible say anything we want
Two common ways:
1) By ripping single verses out of their
surrounding context
2) By stringing together unrelated thoughts
from different books of the Bible
When we ignore the context, we can twist the Scriptures and “prove” almost anything.
Understanding context is crucial to hearing what God has to say.
Context determines meaning
The most important guideline for interpreting the Bible:
Historical-cultural context
(or “background”)
Literary context
Surrounding context – words, sentences, and
Literary genre – form or type of literature
Identify the literary context
The Bible is more than a collection of unrelated parts.
The parts (words, sentences, paragraphs) connect to form whole discourses and books.
See how an author’s thought flows through each part to form the whole.
Three principles of interpretation:
Each statement must be understood according to its natural meaning in the literal context in which it occurs.
A text without a context may be a pretext.
The smaller the passage being studied, the greater the chance of error.
a) Not studying historical-cultural context at all
Dangers associated with studying background
b) Getting bad information
c) Focusing on background matters to the neglect
of meaning and application
Background information - how much?
Only mention those things that clearly help communicate the biblical truth to your specific audience.
Keep the data simple, brief and connected to the sermon theme.
Always keep the focus of the sermon on “our town.”
a) Literary context
b) Historical-cultural context (or “background”)
c) word meanings
d) grammatical relationships
e) literary genre
1) What is the complete unit of thought for the
following verses?

A Complete Unit of Thought
(class activity)

- Mark 10:21
- Acts 2:42
- John 5:8
- Romans 12:21
- Rev. 3:20
Mark 10:17-31
complete unit of thought
Acts 2:42-47
John 5:1-17
Romans 12:9-21
Rev. 3:14-22
1) What kind of cultural/historical information
might you include in a sermon to help your
listeners understand . . .

Historical Cultural Context
(class activity)

Ezra 1
Psalm 51
Isaiah 7:10-25
Habbakuk 1:12-17
1 Corinthians 8
1) What is the main topic that Luke
10:38-42 deals with?

Luke 10:38-42 Theological principle
2) What is Luke 10:38-42 telling us about the
main topic?

Contrasting Methods of Studying Literary and Historical Contexts
- studies the written text
- can ignore identity of author and
- stresses identity of author and
- can study words in themselves
- considers what any competent
reader hears
Literary Context
Historical Context
- studies the people and culture
receiving a text
- Stresses author’s intent as he
uses words
- considers what the original
audience heard
- is accessible to any attentive
- is accessible to readers who know
- rewards intensive study of one
- rewards cumulative study of
many texts
Getting the Message
, 44.
Full transcript