Biblical Interpretation: Prophets

HOW do you interpret Prophets?

First: What are prophetic writings? The Prophetic writings are the Old Testament books of Isaiah through Malachi, and the New Testament book of Revelation. These books contain predictions of future events, and warnings concerning current events. The Prophetic and Apocalyptic books are the ones most often subjected to faulty eisegesis (biblical studies) and personal interpretation based on emotion or preconceived bias. However, I believe that the Word of God was made known through the prophets and it can be known via careful exegesis, a familiarity with the rest of the Bible, and prayerful consideration. Some things will not be made clear to us except in the fullness of time, so it is best not to assume to know everything when it comes to prophetic literature. Trust in the Spirit and realize You can understand more than you thought possible.

Before diving into the steps of interpretation Here’s a good reminder from Duvall and Hays: Grasping God's Word. Every prophetic message will fit within one of these three basic message forms. You have broken the covenant; you had better repent! Three reasons for repentance a. Idolatry b. Social Injustice c. Religious Ritualism

Here's the result options: No repentance? Then Judgment! - Yet, there is hope beyond the judgment for a glorious, future restoration.

Here are seven steps for Interpreting Prophetic Literature.

  1. Determine the entirety of the individual saying.
  2. Determine the type of message form employed.(see the 3 above)
  3. Study the individual message in light of the whole prophecy, look at the historical context of the whole book, and the message context within the book.
  4. Determine the presence of literal meanings and/or symbols.
  5. Carefully outline Christological emphasis.(Be careful to not find Christ under every rock.)
  6. Do not impose your theological system on the text.
  7. After accomplishing the above, seek analogous situations in the modern church.

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