Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Modifying the inductive method for the Old Testament

Thinking about how to do an inductive study on Jonah, I've come to the conclusion that I need to modify the steps a bit in order to keep from getting over extended. The basic steps I usually follow are:

  1. Observation
  2. Questions
  3. Interpretation
  4. Application


These steps are fine, but it becomes difficult to study a book like Jonah that has two levels of interpretation. In particular, before Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, the story of the great fish has no deep significance. God could have saved Jonah any number of ways and served His purpose equally as well. But as Christians, we know the "Sign of Jonah" so we need to be able to interpret the story in light of new information. This can be done in Application, but it really is part of Interpretation. So I'm going to try using these steps instead:


  1. Observation
  2. Questions
  3. Interpretation
  4. Christology
  5. Application


In general, I think it will be useful to add an extra layer of interpretation to a whole range of "special" texts. Prophesy, for instance can become quite confusing when the question of what does such and such a passage mean on a symbolic level and what does it mean in terms of the future. They are separate questions, though the later depends on the answer to the first. Similarly for parables, poetry, and proverbs, the literal or face meaning must be addressed before the deeper meaning may be tackled.

2 comments:

Carman said...

You would like, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins by Annette Simmons. This is the only book of hers that I've read. It discusses the difference between linear thinking and non-linear thinking (storytelling). It's helpful to better understand stories and improve communication through storytelling. Anyhow... just thought of it when I read your post.

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