The Skill of Interpretation Practiced Today -- By: Cliff Allcorn

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 14:42 (Aug 2010)
Article: The Skill of Interpretation Practiced Today
Author: Cliff Allcorn

The Skill of Interpretation Practiced Today

Cliff Allcorn

* Cliff Allcorn, M.A., pastor, Grace Church, River Grove, Illinois; and, adjunct professor of history and humanities, Triton College, River Grove, Illinois

It seems obvious that a person with a desire to send some message to another person originates any communication. It may be a love letter, declaring their great passion for the other person; it may be a theological treatise, elucidating fine points of doctrine; or, it may even simply be a story designed to entertain. However, all of them begin with the purposeful intent of the author to send a message to a specific audience. The “intent of the author” is a very important key to properly understanding any communication, as is the attempt to understand the specific historical context of the author’s intended audience. Nevertheless, the world today seems to want to deride these twin ideas as being necessary for a good and appropriate interpretation of a text. It also seems obvious that a failure to understand the author’s intent and audience’s specific context in any message ends by reducing the communication process to a lifeless and meaningless endeavor, fraught with subjective and unsustainable claims. Nevertheless, there are those in today’s world who accept, and even demand, such a hermeneutic approach.

These truths are doubly accurate with the interpretation of the inspired Scriptures whose texts have been prepared by God, through the work of His chosen messengers, for His people throughout history. They are designed to be used “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16b-17). Their importance is well beyond that of any normal human communication and yet they are given to His people in the same format as a normal human text; therefore, they demand the same interpretational skills as all other documents. Unfortunately those interpretative skills are now sadly questioned both in the American and the worldwide educational systems. Such questioning is a situation very dangerous to the church who needs to be absolutely reliant on the Bible’s proper interpretation. Believers have only the Scriptures for understanding God’s truth for them as His people in this age of the world, with no other acceptable alternatives.

The Bible claims that people wrote it with either access to special information about God and His works on Earth (i.e. Gen or Rev) or by eyewitnesses of historical events pertaining to God (as is most of the Bible). If this claim is taken seriously, also bearing in mind as well such passages as ...

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