Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JODT 22:65 (Autumn 2018) p. 203
The Hermeneutics of the Biblical Writers: Learning to Interpret Scripture from the Prophets and Apostles by Abner Chou. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2018. 251 pp., paper, $24.00.
Abner Chou, professor at The Master’s University, has written an important book concerning biblical hermeneutics. Chou’s book, however, is not covering standard interpretation issues, rather its focus is upon how the human authors of the Bible handled and understood Scripture even as they wrote it. A key concern among Bible expositors is how the New Testament writers quoted and interpreted the Old Testament. Did they randomly isolate certain scriptures from their context and use them for their own purposes? Otherwise, did they, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reinterpret Old Testament texts to reveal their true or deeper meaning (i.e. sensus plenior)? Chou believes neither and offers this study to show that the apostles did not change the meaning of previous revelation but expounded upon its implications (p. 22).
First, the author championed literal-grammatical-historical hermeneutics (pp. 13–14), an approach that lets the Bible speak for itself and, therefore, is a quest for the “author’s intent” (p. 239; cf. pp. 26–30), that is, what did the biblical authors mean, in their immediate context, by what they wrote? The answer is foundational and guides one in his/her own interpretation of Scripture. Chou referenced “the quest for authorial logic” meaning the quest for understanding the biblical writer’s logic in the background and bringing it to the foreground. New Testament authors, Chou believes, interpreted the Old Testament passages just as the Old Testament authors did (see p. 19). In turn, this should be a person’s approach as well. Neither the apostles, nor Christians in general, have any right to dismiss authorial intent and logic and introduce their own ideas.
Secondly, Chou offers the concept of “intertextuality” to explain authorial logic. His thesis is that the writers of Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, alluded to and connected other parts of Scripture in their writings (p. 21). The Old Testament prophets were theologians who studied previous revelation and understood that what they wrote was cohesive with the rest of that revelation. The New Testament apostles continued this same logic in their writings. The implications are important for one’s own understanding of Scripture for, as Chou promised:
JODT 22:65 (Autumn 2018) p. 204
This book uses the New Testament use of the Old to teach us the nature of hermeneutics and interpretation. My mission is to vindicate the prophets and apostles and use them to shape our own understanding of God’s Word [p....
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