Thursday, February 3, 2011

Relationships in Bible Times part 2

Let’s apply this three-aspect stage play model of biblical interpretation to a couple of verses. If we read, “You shall not steal(Exod. 20:15 ), we understand it because stealing occurs in every culture. Many such things in the Bible can be clearly understood just as they are written because they are universal to mankind and to societies. However, things are different when “behind the scenes” cultural aspects are necessary to understand the verse.

Take, for example, Paul’s appeal when he was taken before the Sanhedrin: Acts 23:6

Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.

To understand this verse, one must know what the Sanhedrin were, what a Sadducee was and what they believed, and what a Pharisee was and what they believed. Those things are not covered in detail in the Bible because everyone reading the verse at the time Acts was written knew perfectly well who each group was and what they believed.

Thankfully, we can find these things easily in any good Bible dictionary.


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