(Old Facebook Post)
A lot of rather careless biblical interpretation is happening today. (By God’s grace, thankfully much of the time the truth is still being taught, even if by using questionable or haphazard exegetical methods.) On the other hand, there are a lot of really helpful books out there on how to interpret the Bible–books like Grasping God’s Word that I do highly recommended.
What I’ve rarely seen, however, are books and interpreters that consciously try to determine from the Bible itself how the Bible should be interpreted. Usually lots of helpful methods are imported from the disciplines of literature and history into the practice of biblical interpretation. All truth is God’s truth, so these importations can be very useful. But rarely do we ask: How did the Bible authors interpret the parts of the Bible that already existed in their day?
For the student who wants to seriously investigate that question and then apply the results to shape their own interpretive methods, I know of know better place to begin than this brief, information-packed book by G. K. Beale: Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. It’s only 173 pages, but it distills the very best on this topic that has been written in over 100 years.
Beale quotes Moises Silva:
“If we refuse to pattern our exegesis after that of the apostles, we are in practice denying the authoritative character of their scriptural interpretation–and to do so is to strike at the very heart of the Christian faith.”
And Beale states his goal for his own book:
“The goal is to better grasp the way the two Testaments are related at the particular points where OT references are found. Our ultimate aim is to hear and understand more clearly the voice of the living God as he has spoken and continues to speak in his ‘living words’ (Acts 7:38 NIV) and accordingly to know and encounter God increasingly, to know his will, and so to honor him.”