Assessing The Normative Value Of Selected Narratives From The Book Of Acts Utilising The Five Hermeneutical Principles Of The INCUR Model: How Normative Is Acts? -- By: Noel Woodbridge

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 22:1 (Sep 2016)
Article: Assessing The Normative Value Of Selected Narratives From The Book Of Acts Utilising The Five Hermeneutical Principles Of The INCUR Model: How Normative Is Acts?
Author: Noel Woodbridge


Assessing The Normative Value Of Selected Narratives From The Book Of Acts Utilising The Five Hermeneutical Principles Of The INCUR Model: How Normative Is Acts?

Noel Woodbridge1

Abstract

Over the centuries, numerous major theological errors, based on a faulty interpretation of the book of Acts, have crept into the teaching of the church. These errors have had and continue to have a detrimental effect on the church. For this reason, when interpreting the book of Acts, it is important for Bible scholars to pose the following key questions: Should the practices of the early church serve as the norm for our church practices today? Should we derive our key doctrines from the early church history alone? After discussing the nature and purpose of biblical narratives and some general guidelines for interpreting the narrative portions of scripture, the article examines Luke’s purpose for writing the book of Acts. In this article the author proposes the INCUR model for assessing the normative value of narrative passages in the Bible. The proposed model covers five hermeneutical principles derived

from the work of recognised theologians. When placed together, these hermeneutical principles form an acronym that spells out the word INCUR: (1) Intent: Is the biblical narrative intended to serve as a historical precedent? (2) Non-contradiction: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative contradicted elsewhere in Scripture? (3) Command: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative a command or a description? (4) Uniqueness: Does the biblical narrative describe a unique event in church history? and (5) Reinforcement: Is the practice or doctrine in the biblical narrative reinforced elsewhere in scripture? The author chose to use the INCUR model to assess the narratives in the book of Acts, because many false doctrines have arisen during the course of church history, based on the incorrect interpretation of the normative value of certain narratives in this book. However, these hermeneutical principles are equally valid for assessing the normative value of all biblical narratives. After explaining the meaning of each of the five hermeneutical principles of the INCUR model, these principles are then utilised to briefly assess the normative value of selected narratives from the book of Acts. As a result of the assessment, it was concluded that Bible scholars need to be extremely careful when interpreting biblical narratives.

1. Introduction

Jesus warned against false doctrine. In Matthew 7:15 he said, ’Watch out for false pr...

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