Reasons for Knowledge of Scripture
  1. It gives substance to my faith
  2. It stabilizes me during times of testing
  3. It enables me to handle the Bible correctly
  4. It equips me to detect and confront error.
  5. It makes me confident in my walk.
  6. It filters out my fears and superstitions.

Bible Study Objectives
  1. To provide a knowledge base of Scripture and increase Biblical literacy.
  2. To present an overview, relating parts to the whole, to show the sweep of what God has done.
  3. To enable each student to "get into" the Scriptures, to allow the Bible to inform.
  4. To provide a retainer tool, the pictures offer visual aid.
  5. To provide a disciplined effort, assignments.
  6. To help students learn hermaneutical principles: Greek (western) verus Hebrew (eastern) thinking.
  7. To enable the student, with the Holy Spirit's help, to grow as Christians.

Hermeneutical Principles
  1. Historical Principle: see the message in its historical context.
  2. Literary Principle: recognize the different literary forms in the Bible.
  3. Religious vs. Scientific Principle: recognize that the Bible's message is religious in nature, not scientific.
  4. Shelf Principle: place pre-conceived ideas "on the shelf" and approach the Bible with an open mind.

Random Thoughts Concerning Rules of Biblical Interpretation
    Rule 1: Text, Context, Pretext
    Rule 2: Don't confuse the vehicle with the cargo
    Rule 3: Seek the simple sense of Scripture
    Rule 4: Let Scripture interpret Scripture

    Rule 1: Always begin by placing a passage of the Bible (text) within its proper boundaries. In other words, do not select either too small or too large a portion of Scripture and fail to take into account what comes before or after it. Once you have determined the boundaries of your text ask yourself: To whom was it written? Why? What was going on historically at this time? Politically? Economically? What was the mood of the author? Questions such as these enable you to determine the context of your passage. Finally, be aware of your personal pretext; that is, what you bring to the text. For example, you are male/female, a certain age, married, single, a parent, childless, white, middle class, Lutheran, etc.

    Rule 2: We are more concerned with what the text is trying to say (cargo) than how it is trying to say it (vehicle). Truth is a commodity which can be carried in a number of different vehicles: historical narrative, parable, proverb, fable, allegory, mathematical equation. Always remember, truth is not synonymous with history. As the Zen Master said, "Don't confuse the finger pointing at the moon with the moon."

    Rule 3: Don't make the text say more (or less) than it is attempting to say. Always strive to discover the one main point of the story and resist the temptation to read into the text that which is not there.

    Rule 4: Avoid taking passages out of context. Make sure that your interpretation jives with the rest of the Biblical witness, both Old and New Testaments.