. What Is the Proper Context for Interpreting the Bible?
Written by
Michael S. Heiser

Michael S. Heiser is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., Ancient History) and the University of Wisconsin- Madison (M.A., Ph.D., Hebrew Bible and Semitic Studies). He has a dozen years of classroom teaching experience on the college level and another ten in distance education. He is a former scholar-in-residence at Logos Bible Software.

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  • It would have been nice if the editor who shortened Doctor Heiser’s words had included the fact that at least most of the Gospel Writers themselves had used the Septuagint translation for quoting the Hebrew scriptures.

    • I found this an interesting approach as well. How significant to an intelligent Bible student is a knowledge of Biblical Hebrew in your view?

      • I believe the Hebrew is very important to me. I can tell when authors say things that simply are not true. For that is not what the Hebrew says. And that is with my beginning Hebrew skills. I suspect that as I continue to learn Hebrew, my confidence will grow even more.

      • If you are skilled and experienced (you need both) in Hebrew and the scriptures in general then you *might* discover something of note but if you only have a sophomoric knowledge you are more likely to be led further astray. People wind up disagreeing in two languages instead of just one!

  • This is an excellent article. One of the things I was considering after reading this is how the culture has shifted in my own lifetime. I am fifty-four years old and have seen a dramatic culture shift during that time. I am sure there were culture shifts during biblical times as well that occurred in a short amount of time. For example, from the reign of Hezekiah to the reign of his son Manasseh, the culture certainly shifted.
    A second thought is that much of what many hold as true biblical teachings are more tradition than biblical. Not that the tradition is necessarily bad or evil, but that it is not necessarily required.

  • I think you have drilled down to the heart of the problem and have high hopes that you will put out mine shafts that will explain how we go about gaining an understanding of the worldviews of each successive generation. This will show how Noah’s world was different from Abram’s which in turn was quite different from Moses’ and from Samuel’s, Saul’s, and David’s. The pre-exilic, exilic, and post-exilic worlds changed as did the world into which Jesus and the disciples were born.
    Looking forward to what is coming!

  • Whatever you’re doing Dr. Heiser, keep it up. I like eating in a restaurant where I can smell fresh bread cooking. According to Luke 6:26 if you don’t disrupt the comfortable then you aren’t doing it right!

Written by Michael S. Heiser