I’ve been working with a group on Doing Everyday Theology. Here are seven great interpretative questions that can (and should:) be asked when looking at any passage of Scripture.
- Where in the “narrative” of Scripture is this coming from? I.e. creation, fall, nation, fall of nation/prophets, gospels, church (Acts forward)
- What is the historical or cultural context? Obviously good resources are valuable. So is common sense.
- Is there a ‘genre’ that should be considered? I.e. poetry, parable, history, law, prophecy, Gospel account, epistle/letter, etc.
- What is happening? I.e. who, what, why, where, when, and how. What’s going on and why?
- What do you think it ‘meant’ to its original or historical audience? (or, if the writing is removed from the events covered, to those who recorded and passed it down)
- What do you think it ‘means’ to us today as a part of Scripture (God’s reveled Word to us)?
- Are there any immediate tensions with the rest of Scripture or Church tradition? *There often are, note them down and be honest with them.
In general we need to avoid “Reading into” Scripture and focus on “Drawing out” of Scripture. Maybe you can think of some others to add? I would be glad to hear from you!