The Three Worlds of the Bible

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The Three Worlds
of the Bible
REL 151 – Survey of the Old Testament
Jefferson State Community College
Clanton Campus
Spring 2015
Instructor: Cleve Mallory
Overview of the Course
This course will introduce to you the
“Three Worlds of the Bible”
–The Literary World
–The Historical World
–The Contemporary World
Overview of the Course
This course will introduce to you the
“Three Worlds of the Bible”
–The Literary World
text
• Consists solely of the words on the page
Overview of the Course
This course will introduce to you the
“Three Worlds of the Bible”
–The Literary World
–The Historical World
text
context
• Consists of the world “behind the text”
Overview of the Course
This course will introduce to you the
“Three Worlds of the Bible”
–The Literary World
–The Historical World
–The Contemporary World
text
context
• Consists of “the world of the reader”
The Literary World
What Does the Bible Say?
• The Central Themes of the Bible
– The involvement of the Creator in creation
– God’s special relationship with His people, Israel
– The faithfulness of God to His people
– The fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus (N.T.)
– The redemption of God’s people in Jesus (N.T.)
The Historical World
What Is the Bible?
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The Bible is the bestselling book of all time.
It is a collection of 66 books…
Written by nearly 40 human authors…
Spanning some 1600 years.
The word “Bible” is translated from the
Greek biblia, meaning “books.”
The Historical World
Who Wrote the Bible?
• The books of Judeo-Christian Scripture have
numerous authors (40 +). They range from
kings to prophets to shepherds to fishermen.
• To those who consider the Bible sacred, the
belief is that each author was inspired by the
Holy Spirit of the Most High God to the degree
that every word is exactly as God would have it
in its original language.
The Historical World
How Did We Get the Bible?
Canonization
• The “canon” refers to the accepted writings
deemed authoritative by a religious community.
• “Canon” derives from the Greek word for “reed,”
which was an ancient standard of measurement.
• Canonization is the process by which a set of books
came to be viewed as having sacred authority.
The Historical World
How Did We Get the Bible?
Canonization
• The fixed canon of Christian Scripture is divided
into two testaments: Old and New
• To those who consider the Bible sacred, the
belief is that each author was inspired by the
Holy Spirit of the Most High God to the degree
that every word is exactly as God would have it
in its original language.
The Old Testament
• The Hebrew Bible has Three Divisions
– The Torah
(Law)
canonized by ~500 BC
– The Nevi’im (Prophets) canonized by ~200 BC
– The Kethuvim (Writings) canonized by ~70 BC
• The Hebrew Bible contains 24 Books
• The Protestant O.T. contains 39 Books (arranged diff.)
The Old Testament
• Ancient stories were passed down by oral
tradition until written languages emerged.
• It is believed that the OT Books were written
over a ~1,400 year span.
• The original writings were Hebrew & Aramaic
– The Septuagint
Greek translation
– The Vulgate
Latin translation
– The Wycliffe Bible Anglo Saxon
– King James Version
250-100 BC
400 AD
1382 AD
1611 AD
The Historical World
The O.T. Must Be Read in CONTEXT
– Context refers to the circumstances that form
the setting for a passage of Scripture.
Time, Place, People, Political/Cultural Climate, etc.
– Proper Understanding of Context Enables Proper
Understanding of Scripture.
– To Ignore Context Is to Ignore Authorial Intent.
The Historical World
5 Types of CONTEXT
– Historical Context
Refers to the events taking place in the biblical era forming the
backdrop of a passage of Scripture.
– Cultural Context
Refers to the attitudes, patterns of behavior, and/or expressions of a
particular society.
The Historical World
5 Types of CONTEXT
– Literary Context
Refers to the way a passage fits into and functions within a book,
group of books, or the Bible as a whole.
– Theological Context
Refers to the way a passage fits into the broader message(s)
of the Bible.
What does this teach us about God?
What does this teach us about ourselves? Our world?
The Historical World
5 Types of CONTEXT
– Personal Context
Refers to the circumstances surrounding the life of the reader that
might affect the way he or she reads and understands passages of
Scripture.
This is the contextual element that
transitions from the Historical World
to the Contemporary World.
The Contemporary World
My Understanding of the Biblical Text
Is Affected by…
– Who I Am
– Where I Live
– When I Live
– What I Have Experienced
– How I Think/ Believe/ Feel
CONNECTIVITY OF WORLDS
–The Literary World
–The Historical World
–The Contemporary World
One must understand all three in order
to understand the Old Testament.
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