Scripture Course

wijngaards2One of the most important questions facing the Christian Church is how to interpret scripture in the face of widespread misunderstanding of crucial texts. Is it to be understood literally or do we need to discover the true meaning following some basic rules?

That is why we offer this special course for online study. It consists of ten lessons, formulated as principles, with many case studies of scriptural passages.

John Wijngaards

Overview of the course

Principle 1. Factual Inspiration

lenssmallThe true nature of Sacred Scripture cannot be deduced from arguments of convenience. It can only be learnt from observing God’s factual way of inspiration.

Case studies

C1. Jesus curses a fig tree
C2. The eucharistic words of Jesus

Principle 2. Intended meaning

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We must know what the human author of a scriptural text wanted to say before we can come to any conclusions as to what God is telling us.

C3. Six-day creation
C4. The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart

Principle 3. Limited scope

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We may not ascribe statements or assertions to a biblical author which lie outside his intended scope.

C5. Jesus and slavery
C6. Jesus chose only men

Principle 4. Literary forms

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To evaluate what the authors of Scripture want to affirm one has to take full account of the literary forms employed.

C7. The parable of the lost sheep
C8. Wives subject to husbands

Principle 5. Shades of meaning in human speech

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Sacred Scripture knows all the shades of human affirmation. God asserts and affirms truths only in as far as the human authors want to assert or affirm them.

C9. Hell fire
C10. Homosexuality

Principle 6. Rationalizations

headcovers

We have to distinguish substantial statements by the author from rationalizations and popular reasonings in which he expresses his own human opinions.

C11. Women should veil their heads
C12. Children punished for a parent’s sins

Principle 7. Growth in understanding God’s will

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We find in Sacred Scripture a gradual unfolding of truth, both in doctrine, morals and church organization.

C13. The creation and punishment of woman
C14. The twelve apostles were men

Principle 8. Opinion is only opinion

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Common opinion in the Church with regard to scriptural or theological questions is not part of the Church’s teaching.

C15. Galileo Galilei and the moving of the sun.
C16. The taking of interest

Principle 9. Problem texts

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Problems will always remain, but once we have gained an insight into their nature, they need never upset us.

C17. Does the Devil exist?
C18. The midrash of the Magi

Principle 10. Incarnation

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Sacred Scripture is one example of the Divine working salvation through human means and forms.

C19. Carrying our cross
C20. The meaning of the ‘Our Father’

Why study the correct interpretation of Scripture
as an online course?

Most of us are aware of the many mistakes that have been made on account of a wrong understanding of scriptural texts. Six-day creation, slavery, racism, the suppression of women and the persecution of homosexuals have been justified on the basis of Scripture. Similar mistakes continue to be made.

Most of us have read texts that try to explain one problem text or the other. But this often still leaves us with the uneasy feeling that the answers are just created to get us out of a tough spot. Can we trust the interpretation of reformers? To resolve the problem once and for all, and with entire satisfacion, we have to go to the root of things. We need to explore the nature of the inspired Scriptures themselves – why they are vulnerable to cause misunderstandings.

A lasting solution requires some study on our part, a study that is:
methodical
thorough
exploring the nature of inspired scripture itself.
This requires studying it as a course.

See our suggestions on how to conduct your study here!