Biblical Interpretation: How Should We Read the Bible?

This thread is for discussions about how we as Christians should read the Bible.

What methods and perspectives are good for understanding the Bible?
Are there methods that are better than others?
Are some methods intrinsically faulty or inappropriate for Biblical application?
What if any are the dangers and pitfalls of particular methods?

These questions are intended to generate conversation, not to limit the conversation.


Here are some working definitions:

Form Criticism is a method of biblical criticism that classifies units of scripture by literary pattern (such as parables or legends) and that attempts to trace each type to its period of oral transmission.[1] Form criticism seeks to determine a unit's original form and the historical context of the literary tradition (Wikipedia)

Textual criticism (or lower criticism) is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts. Ancient scribes made errors or alterations when copying manuscripts by hand.[1] Given a manuscript copy, several or many copies, but not the original document, the textual critic seeks to reconstruct the original text (the archetype or autograph) as closely as possible. The same processes can be used to attempt to reconstruct intermediate editions, or recensions, of a document's transcription history.[2] The ultimate objective of the textual critic's work is the production of a "critical edition" containing a text most closely approximating the original. (Wikipedia)

Rhetorical criticism is an approach to criticism that is at least as old as Plato. In the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates examine a speech by Lysias to determine whether or not it is praiseworthy. Rhetorical criticism analyzes symbolic artifacts (including words, phrases, images, gestures, performances, texts, films, and "discourse" in general) to discover how, and how well, they work: how they instruct, inform, entertain, move, arouse, perform, convince and, in general, persuade their audience, including whether and how they might improve their audience. In short, rhetorical criticism seeks to understand how symbols act on people. (Wikipedia)

Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists. (Wikipedia)

Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that attempts to formulate an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the Christian faith and beliefs. Systematic theology draws on the foundational sacred texts of Christianity, while simultaneously investigating the development of Christian doctrine over the course of history, particularly through philosophy, science and ethics. Inherent to a system of theological thought is that a method is developed, one which can be applied both broadly and particularly.


These are the types of things up for discussion, in conjunction with scripture.

Exegesis by RobinHoodjr
prima scriptura by Mike Kirby
RE: Interpretation by crates

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