Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 149:593 (Jan 92) p. 101
Basic Bible Interpretation. By Roy B. Zuck. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991. 324 pp. $18.99.
Basic Bible Interpretation is a text that lives up to its title. It is basic in that it seeks to bridge the gap between the biblical world and the contemporary reader without the complication of philosophical theories of interpretation that have often fogged the field in recent hermeneutical discussions of the Bible. It is biblical in its affirmation of the Bible as a human as well as a divine book. These two axioms, along with their respective corollaries, establish the foundational principles discussed throughout the remainder of the book. That the Bible is a human book argues for literal or normal interpretation that seeks to bridge the gaps of culture, grammar, and literature. The divine nature of the Bible demands the recognition of the inerrancy, authority, unity, and mystery of the Bible. (“Mystery” is a term used for miracles, prophecy, and doctrine.) Interpretation is seen as the essential and determinative step between observation and application. After establishing the need to bridge the gaps that exist between the original writing and the contemporary world, a historical overview is presented as a corrective to the errors of the past, a directional signal for the present, and an alert to the reader as to the recurring questions that continue to demand attention.
Each chapter of the book, creatively structured, includes guided practice exercises to reinforce what is learned, and ends with step-by-step principles or methods to apply to any given text being interpreted. Separate chapters on the general categories of culture, grammar, and literature of the Bible include extensive charts and relevant illustrations. Remaining chapters take up a selection of special hermeneutical concerns including figures of speech, types and symbols, parables and allegories, prophecy, and Old Testament quotations in the New.
The author has not been timid about asserting his own positions. To name a few, types are restricted to those so designated by the New Testament. Parables are distinguished from allegories. Prophetic interpretation focuses on the issues of millennialism and dispensationalism. The book affirms an evangelical commitment to the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of
BSac 149:593 (Jan 92) p. 102
the Scriptures. Dispensational premillennialism is seen as the natural result of following a consistent literal approach to prophetic Scriptures.
Unique to most texts on hermeneutics is Zuck’s final chapter on application. Guidelines are included for determining cultural relativity as well as transcultural normativeness. The need to make application s...
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