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SO question, kind of... If we are meant to interpret religious texts as they are written...

Where do we draw the line? The Bible, the Quran, the Talmud and other lesser known religious texts all contain passages which not only permit but support abuse and other actions which we see today as inhumane. (Stonings for example).

So if you simply take those texts as they were written without your own interpretations where do you draw the line? Do you follow your religious texts to the letter or do you ignore the parts which aren't accepted culturally or legally?

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 12:40 PM on Sep. 14, 2010 in Religious Debate

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • Seeking the biblical author's intended meaning necessitates interpreting Bible verses in context.

    Every word in the Bible is part of a verse, and every verse is part of a paragraph, and every paragraph is part of a book, and every book is part of the whole of Scripture.

    No verse of Scripture can be divorced from the verses around it. Interpreting a verse apart from its context is like trying to analyze a Rembrandt painting by looking at only a single square inch of the painting, or like trying to analyze Handel's "Messiah" by listening to a few short notes.

    The context is absolutely critical to properly interpreting Bible verses.
    In interpreting Scripture, there is both an immediate context and a broader context.

    The immediate context of a verse is the paragraph (or paragraphs) of the biblical book in question. The immediate context should always be consulted in interpreting Bible verses.


    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 1:06 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • The broader context is the whole of Scripture.
    The entire Holy Scripture is the context and guide for understanding the particular passages of Scripture.

    We must keep in mind that the interpretation of a specific passage must not contradict the total teaching of Scripture on a point.

    Individual verses do not exist as isolated fragments, but as parts of a whole.

    The exposition of these verses, therefore, must involve exhibiting them in right relation both to the whole and to each other. Scripture interprets Scripture.

    Historical considerations are especially important in properly interpreting the Word of God.

    The Christian faith is based on historical fact.

    Indeed, Christianity rests on the foundation of the historical Jesus whose earthly life represents God's full and objective self-communication to humankind (John 1:18).


    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 1:08 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • Jesus was seen and heard by human beings as God's ultimate revelation (1 John 1:1-3).

    This is why He could forcefully claim, "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also" (John 14:7).
    The apostle Paul, when speaking with the religious men of Athens, affirmed that the reality of the future judgment of all humanity rests on the objective, historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:16f.).

    This evidence is recorded for us in the New Testament Gospels, documents that are based on eyewitness testimony and written very close in time to the events on which they report.

    Based on how people respond to God's objective, historical revelation contained in Scripture, they will spend eternity in a real heaven or a real hell.

    A "literal" approach to Scripture recognizes that the Bible contains a variety of literary genres, each of which has certain peculiar characterist that must be recognized

    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 1:09 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • in order to interpret the text properly.

    A parable should not be treated as history, nor should poetry or apocalyptic literature (both of which contain many symbols) be treated as straightforward narrative.

    The wise interpreter allows his knowledge of genres to control how he approaches each individual biblical text.

    In this way, he can accurately determine what the biblical author was intending to communicate to the reader.
    Now, even though the Bible contains a variety of literary genres and many figures of speech, the biblical authors most often employed literal statements to convey their ideas.


    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 1:10 PM on Sep. 14, 2010


    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 1:11 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • I believe the Bible. I believe it is all important and given by God. However, it is clear that while many of those things applied at one time during OT law; because of Christ's finished work on the cross, parts of the law no longer apply. Many of the things (for example the stonings that you mentioned) were given to Israel as their civic law. Other things such as abstaining from certain foods were given to Israel for their dietary laws. Some things that OT saints were commanded to do, were a picture of what was to happen with Christ's death on the cross. A studied Bible believer will learn that NT Christians are not held to the civic and dietary laws any longer after Christ's death. That is why we no longer follow many of the things given in the OT. All that is carried over in the NT and still applies, I as a Bible believing Christian try to follow. Not sure if that answers your question or not.

    Answer by missionarywifey at 1:17 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • And why do you assume that your definitions of "humane" and "inhumane" are the correct ones? Or your view of right and wrong?
    Now, personally, I've seen that Judaism has been grossly misinterpreted as stoning in the Torah isn't what you think it is. The death penalty in the Torah isn't really what you think it is. the same goes for slavery, for example. We tend to limit our definition to what we know- the slavery of Africans in the US and Europe for example, which included lack of any rights, mistreatment, violence, etc. That's NOT what the OT condones as "slavery".
    But people tend to judge these terms with their own perspective of what they must be instead of learning what it truly was about, how it was implemented, the details of it, etc. And so people mistakenly think that the OT condoned Black slavery and the mistreatment of slaves, when it doesn't.


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 1:26 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • And that is not a matter of interpretation. These were clear cut laws that people used to follow, they lived by them. So it's not that someone could interpret that slavery was hitting, abusing and neglecting your slaves. There was no room for that interpretation, anyone doing that would be breaking the law.
    As for following the laws of the Torah... I try to follow those that apply to me and that are applicable today (because some laws aren't as we don't have a Temple) to the best of my abilities. Actually, I can't think of a single one that wouldn't be accepted culturally speaking nowadays, even if some, like dietary laws and dress laws seem incompatible with modern western life. But unacceptable? I don't think I do anything that it's unacceptable by modern Western cultural standards.


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 1:30 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • Ahh..This is where people never agree.

    Answer by tiger_tatted1 at 1:33 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • In regards to the bible... Its called Grace... Jesus overcame it all on the Cross. Until you understand the message of the Cross you will not understand why we do not go by OT Laws and why we Christians now live under NT Grace.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 5:40 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

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