When we read the Bible, we bring a whole host of ideas and assumptions to the text that have been filtered down to us through two-thousand years of biblical interpretation. Of course, it doesn’t feel that way— we’re just reading, interpreting, and applying biblical passages to our lives. We probably aren’t thinking about how Luther might have interpreted this passage or how Origen would have read this verse.
However, the way the Bible has been interpreted throughout history has a great influence on how we read and understand the Scriptures today. As Dr. Gerald Bray says, “You and I have inherited a way of thinking and a way of reading that dates back many centuries.” Dr. Bray, an editor of the popular Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series, explains the importance of understanding the rich history of biblical interpretation.
Dr. Bray walks you through this history in the Mobile Ed: History of Biblical Interpretation Bundle. In History of Biblical Interpretation I: Second Temple Judaism through the Reformation, Dr. Bray begins by discussing foundational issues like the revelation of Scripture and the formation of the Christian canon. He examines both early Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Old Testament and explores how Greek thought influenced the early church. Dr. Bray then covers how biblical interpretation changed throughout different periods of church history.
In History of Biblical Interpretation II: Seventeenth Century through the Present, Dr. Bray looks at the rise of modern, critical scholarship. He reviews key figures and philosophies behind the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation and discusses topics like the quest for the historical Jesus and the New Perspective on Paul. He concludes the course by overviewing the evangelical response to the more critical methods of biblical interpretation and by discussing the importance of practical application when interpreting the Bible.
Knowing the history of biblical interpretation will help you be a better reader and interpreter of the Bible. You’ll be better equipped to evaluate differing interpretations and make practical applications from the text.