Editorial -- By: Ron J. Bigalke
The Bible is an exceptional and unique document. It was written during a period of approximately 1500 years (forty to sixty generations). The first books of the Old Testament were written approximately 1425 BC, and the last book of the New Testament was written in AD 95. There are more than forty authors who composed the sixty-six books of Scripture. Not only were the authors separated from one another by hundreds of miles and years, but were quite diverse in their occupations. The writers of Scripture include a lawgiver, military general, shepherd, king, cupbearer, priest, prophet, prime minister, tax collector, fishermen, doctor, and rabbi. The heroes of the Bible are presented with all their faults and weaknesses. Scripture is written in several literary genres, such as historical narrative, legal literature, wisdom literature, poetry, prophetic, gospels, parables, and epistles. The Bible was written on three different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe) and in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). Scripture was written during various circumstances, such as in the wilderness, during a military campaign, a dungeon, in captivity, during travel, in a Roman prison, and in exile; it was composed during times of peace, war, and exile. Nevertheless, all the authors of Scripture wrote with agreement and continuity from Genesis to Revelation. The Old Testament is not complete without the New Testament, and the New Testament is impossible to understand without the Old Testament. The two Testaments provide a harmonious account of God’s holiness and love toward His creation, His choosing of the nation of Israel as a covenant people (and the creation of the church as a separate entity), and His redemption of depraved humanity through the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although men wrote the books of Scripture, it claims to be the very Word of God. The Old Testament uses the frequent expressions, “the word of the LORD” or “thus say the LORD.” The authority of Scripture is attested in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. Understanding the authority of Scripture is directly related to hermeneutics because it will influence the translator to exercise care to render the biblical text accurately in the translation and it will influence the interpreter to exercise case to understand and communicate the authorial intent with integrity. Peter Youmans has witnessed the results of allegorical interpretation in his hometown and in the Middle East, and demonstrated how allegoricism hinders one from “rightly dividing the Word of God.” Other questions addressed in this issue include: What is the bad news and good news for the nation of Israel in Matthew’s Gospel? Who authored the Book of Hebrews? Was the Garden of Eden created as a place of testing? ...
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