How do you read the Scriptures?

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
User avatar
dande48
Posts: 463
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by dande48 » 05 Nov 2017, 07:39

I remember a while back (and still now), there was some heated debate when it was discovered that Isaiah 7:14 in the KJV probably mistranslated the world "almah" to mean "virgin", when in reality "almah" refers to a young woman, married or not. So it is quite possibly that the virgin Mary was not really a virgin after all.

Personally, I think Jesus viewed Himself very differently than mainstream Christianity views Him today. Going back to Isaiah, I think he also viewed the messiah very differently than we view Christ; although more in line with how I think Christ viewed himself. The trouble is, when you have a certain world-view, EVERYTHING will seem to support that world view, even when it does not. I'm sure that's true for me as well. But I am very grateful for those willing to deeply look into and study the scriptures; not the hollow "study", but those who are willing to put aside their own biases, holding nothing above reproach, and figure out what they actually say.

We touched on this in another thread, concerning the true nature of God. But I think it is VERY unlikely that we, for the first time since the creation of man, finally see God for who he truly is. I think the Christians of the past would be appalled by our views on God, just we we are sometimes appalled by theirs. And I think we in modern times would be equally appalled to find out how future Christians view God. When and if we are brought to see God face to face, and discover who He truly is, and what He truly believes, I think we all (from any age) are going to be VERY suprised.
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

Roy
Posts: 4473
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by Roy » 05 Nov 2017, 09:42

DarkJedi wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 05:16
This is exactly the kind of stuff I was talking about. As far as I can tell from my own study, which includes using other resources, Isaiah was indeed not talking about the Messiah at all. That's actually pretty clear reading the whole thing in context. The questions in my mind are:

1) Was Isaiah purposely talking about a future son as symbolic of the Messiah, essentially giving the scripture multiple meanings?
2) Was Isaiah only talking about his son but God wanted the multiple interpretations? That is, Isaiah was talking about his son and God was talking about his own son through Isaiah?
3) Are modern humans (Christians mostly) completely wrong about any of it being about the Messiah? IOW, was what Isaiah was writing about just that and nothing more?
4) Did Isaiah believe he was prophesying about anything more than just a few years in the future? Was he doing so and didn't know he was doing so? Or was it just what it looks like and he was only prophesying a few years into the future?
I remember in high school reading a story and talking about how it was raining in a particular scene and that rain was foreshadowing something bad to happen later in the book. I asked my teacher how are we to know? It rains all the time in real life and it does not mean that something bad is going to happen. Did the Author give an interview before he died where he said that the rain was his attempt to foreshadow the tragic ending?

The teacher told me that sometimes in our analysis of great literature, we can look at the writing in new ways than how it was understood before and perhaps the original intent of the author. We can add to and expand the current body of interpretation and understanding about the book. In this way, we can become creative partners with the author - bringing about new meanings and even reviving the relevancy of the book for a new audience.

I personally find this explanation to be extremely relevant in understanding and appreciating what we do with religious texts.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 6448
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Nov 2017, 12:41

End to end, topically, or at random.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5404
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Nov 2017, 14:13

Roy wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 09:42
DarkJedi wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 05:16
This is exactly the kind of stuff I was talking about. As far as I can tell from my own study, which includes using other resources, Isaiah was indeed not talking about the Messiah at all. That's actually pretty clear reading the whole thing in context. The questions in my mind are:

1) Was Isaiah purposely talking about a future son as symbolic of the Messiah, essentially giving the scripture multiple meanings?
2) Was Isaiah only talking about his son but God wanted the multiple interpretations? That is, Isaiah was talking about his son and God was talking about his own son through Isaiah?
3) Are modern humans (Christians mostly) completely wrong about any of it being about the Messiah? IOW, was what Isaiah was writing about just that and nothing more?
4) Did Isaiah believe he was prophesying about anything more than just a few years in the future? Was he doing so and didn't know he was doing so? Or was it just what it looks like and he was only prophesying a few years into the future?
I remember in high school reading a story and talking about how it was raining in a particular scene and that rain was foreshadowing something bad to happen later in the book. I asked my teacher how are we to know? It rains all the time in real life and it does not mean that something bad is going to happen. Did the Author give an interview before he died where he said that the rain was his attempt to foreshadow the tragic ending?

The teacher told me that sometimes in our analysis of great literature, we can look at the writing in new ways than how it was understood before and perhaps the original intent of the author. We can add to and expand the current body of interpretation and understanding about the book. In this way, we can become creative partners with the author - bringing about new meanings and even reviving the relevancy of the book for a new audience.

I personally find this explanation to be extremely relevant in understanding and appreciating what we do with religious texts.
If indeed we see God as the ultimate author of all scripture, this explanation is plausible.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
Posts: 4473
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by Roy » 05 Nov 2017, 16:27

DarkJedi wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 14:13
If indeed we see God as the ultimate author of all scripture, this explanation is plausible.
I suppose that I am seeing it that God is the inspiration for the scripture. The original author feels inspired and writes it down. Then we come along hundreds or thousands of years later and reinterpret and repurpose the old scripture to better fit our modern circumstances. We feel moved or inspired in making these retrofits.

Perhaps God, the ancient church patriarch, and us modern readers are all creative partners in creating meaning and purpose out of life. Maybe God cares less about the storyline than the principles inside and lets us tweak the story as necessary to better serve His/our ends.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5404
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 Nov 2017, 16:34

Yes, I have often thought, at least post faith crisis, that the message is probably more important than the means. I think the message is love one another.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

User avatar
Beefster
Posts: 325
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 18:38

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by Beefster » 05 Nov 2017, 17:50

I'm not at all consistent with scripture reading and I don't believe there is any power in the reading itself, so it's hard to be motivated to reread something I have already read 8-15 times. I don't get much out of it when I read out of habit. I tend to zone out and scan the page while my mind wanders.

I've tried a lot of different approaches and none of them lead to interesting insights on a consistent basis. The novelty is long gone.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 5404
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Nov 2017, 06:59

Beefster wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 17:50
I'm not at all consistent with scripture reading and I don't believe there is any power in the reading itself, so it's hard to be motivated to reread something I have already read 8-15 times. I don't get much out of it when I read out of habit. I tend to zone out and scan the page while my mind wanders.

I've tried a lot of different approaches and none of them lead to interesting insights on a consistent basis. The novelty is long gone.
Yep.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

AmyJ
Posts: 283
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by AmyJ » 06 Nov 2017, 07:17

SamBee wrote:
03 Nov 2017, 16:17
Not a shock at all.
It was a shock to me because I was expecting something a long the lines of "here is how this passage is interpreted by Jews, and here is how it is also interpreted by Christians" etc. The gist of it was "these passages are interpreted as describing Jesus Christ by Christians", but have no bearing based on the translations of the Jewish writing available."
SamBee wrote:
03 Nov 2017, 16:17
Firstly, a lot of the influence upon the study of Isaiah these days is Jewish, and so is totally hostile to such a concept as Jews are inured to the idea of Jesus as Messiah before they can even walk. It's very tough for Jews to become Christians and it is even seen as an act of betrayal in some quarters of Jewry. There are some Jews who appreciate Jesus' teachings, but many of them reject them partly on the basis of persecution by Christians.

Secondly, academia rejects prophecy and supernatural matters completely. It is guaranteed that you will NEVER EVER find an academic suggesting that the future is accurately predicted in any scripture. If it does seem accurate, they'll say it must be because it was written after the events or is an interpolation. They will never accept a lucky strike.

So on two major scores there is a bias against any such interpretation in academia.
Your 2 main points I will happily consider - thank you!
I can also see how it shouldn't necessarily have been a shock, but it was for me.

AmyJ
Posts: 283
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: How do you read the Scriptures?

Post by AmyJ » 06 Nov 2017, 07:18

DarkJedi wrote:
05 Nov 2017, 05:16
AmyJ wrote:
03 Nov 2017, 11:34
One of the biggest shocks I got from the OT Yale lectures was that some of the Isaiah passages prophesying Jesus Christ weren't about Jesus Christ originally - but were about Isaiah's unborn son or someone else entirely. Still processing that one....
This is exactly the kind of stuff I was talking about. As far as I can tell from my own study, which includes using other resources, Isaiah was indeed not talking about the Messiah at all. That's actually pretty clear reading the whole thing in context. The questions in my mind are:

1) Was Isaiah purposely talking about a future son as symbolic of the Messiah, essentially giving the scripture multiple meanings?
2) Was Isaiah only talking about his son but God wanted the multiple interpretations? That is, Isaiah was talking about his son and God was talking about his own son through Isaiah?
3) Are modern humans (Christians mostly) completely wrong about any of it being about the Messiah? IOW, was what Isaiah was writing about just that and nothing more?
4) Did Isaiah believe he was prophesying about anything more than just a few years in the future? Was he doing so and didn't know he was doing so? Or was it just what it looks like and he was only prophesying a few years into the future?

And it's not just the Messiah stuff that has a different Christian interpretation. All the war stuff in the beginning seems to have been about an upcoming invasion everyone knew was going to happen and Isaiah was blaming the Israelites for unrighteousness ("calling them to repentance").

In the church, and I think other churches do it as well, we only tend to look at the parts of Isaiah that fit the narrative and can be made some sense of from out of an Isaiah-loving point of view. In SS school we skip most of it, and some other interesting parts of the OT that don't fit the narrative. And we seem to love taking small passages out of context and never address what they are actually about or any other possible points of view (again that's not just us).
This :D

Much food for thought...

Post Reply