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Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost

, 2016
ISBN: 9780802874399

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How do we hear the Spirit’s voice in Scripture? Once we have done responsible exegesis, how may we expect the Spirit to apply the text to our lives and communities? In Spirit Hermeneutics biblical scholar Craig Keener addresses these questions, carefully articulating how the experience of the Spirit that empowered the church on the day of Pentecost can—and should—dynamically shape our reading of Scripture today.

Keener considers what Spirit-guided interpretation means, explores implications of an epistemology of word and Spirit for biblical hermeneutics, and shows how Scripture itself models an experiential appropriation of its message, a way of reading with faith. Bridging the Word-Spirit gap between academic and experiential Christian approaches, Keener's Spirit Hermeneutics narrates a way of reading the Bible that is faithful both to the Spirit-inspired biblical text and to the experience of the Spirit among believers.

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Key Features

  • Presents biblical-theological reflection supporting a dynamic, experiential, Spirit-guided reading of Scripture
  • Examines Spirit-guided interpretation and its application
  • Discusses how experience of the Spirit can shape learning


  • Introduction
  • Part 1: A Theological Reading toward Praxis and Mission
    • Reading Experientially
    • Reading from the Vantage of Pentecost
  • Part 2: Global Readings
    • Global Reading: The Biblical Model of Pentecost
    • Global Reading: Contextualization and Scripture
    • Needing Other Cultures’ Input
    • Some Valuable Majority World Insights
  • Part 3: Connection with the Designed Sense
    • The Measuring Stick
    • Do Ancient Meanings Matter?
    • Room Left for Authors?
    • Both-And
  • Part 4: Epistemology and the Spirit
    • An Epistemology of Word and Spirit
    • Biblical Epistemology and Hermeneutics
    • Reading the Bible as Truth
  • Part 5: Intrabiblical Models for Reading Scripture
    • How Jesus Invites Us to Hear the Bible
    • Reading the Torah as the Law of Faith
    • Christological Reading or Personal Application?
  • Part 6: Whose Charismatic Interpretation?
    • Naïve “Pentecostal” Readings vs. Biblically Sensitive Pentecostal Readings
    • Global Pentecostal Community as a Safety Net?
  • Conclusion: Scripture Speaking Personally—and Historically

Top Highlights

“Rather, my objective here is to help to articulate how the experience of the Spirit that empowered the church on the day of Pentecost can and should dynamically shape our reading of Scripture. It is less about reading the Bible within a particular denominational or movement’s interpretive community than about ways of reading the Bible that are faithful both to the Spirit-inspired biblical text and the experience of the Spirit within a believer or among believers as an interpretive community. That approach is relevant for denominational Pentecostals, but also for all who share their commitment to reading the Bible experientially, hearing in Scripture God’s inspired voice for us, his people, in all ages.” (Page 4)

“I have little patience for approaches that claim to be ‘of the Spirit’ yet ignore the concreteness of the settings in which the Spirit inspired the biblical writings, settings that help explain the particularities in the shape of such writings.” (Page 2)

“If read on its own terms (or even with a brief Pauline concordance search), the Bible does invite us to affirm the life, gifts, fruit and power of the Spirit. The New Testament pervasively emphasizes the new era of the Spirit in Christ, an emphasis missed not by concordance searches or exegesis but only by worldviews that cannot contend with it. This emphasis, then, is the result of a biblical hermeneutic simply attentive to the text; it is relevant for the entire church, and not just the massive segment that is called Pentecostal. If we define pentecostal in this wider sense, ideally all of the church should be pentecostal, reading from the vantage point of Pentecost.” (Page 10)

Praise for the Print Edition

Craig Keener has written a compelling guide to reading Scripture experientially, eschatologically, and missionally. Keener resources the Pentecostal tradition, including its global breadth, to guide readers on how to draw from the Spirit, how to develop disciplined reading habits, how to understand debates about interpretation, and how to dutifully get the most out of the text. This book is nothing less than hermeneutics with holy fire!

—Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Melbourne

Few subjects are more important today than the relation between hermeneutics and the Holy Spirit, if we want to take the Bible seriously. Craig Keener rightly insists that ‘spiritual’ hermeneutics includes global Pentecostalism but is also much broader. We need careful attention to meaning to curb undue subjectivism. . . . I warmly commend this informative and commonsense approach to a crucially important subject.

—Anthony C. Thiselton, University of Nottingham

In this benchmark study Craig Keener combines the very best in biblical scholarship with his charismatic experience and exposure to the Majority World view of the spiritual and supernatural. This will certainly be the best book relating to pentecostal and charismatic hermeneutics for a long time to come.

—Allan H. Anderson, University of Birmingham

  • Title: Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost
  • Author: Craig Keener
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2016
  • Logos Release Date: 2017
  • Pages: 550
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible › Hermeneutics; Bible › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Holy Spirit; Pentecostalism
  • ISBNs: 9780802874399, 9780802875617, 0802874398, 0802875610
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T03:06:33Z
Craig Keener

Dr. Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, and is the author of 17 books, four of which have won book awards in Christianity Today. One, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, has sold more than half a million copies. He has authored scholarly commentaries on Matthew, John (two volumes), Acts (four volumes), and more briefly on Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Revelation. Dr. Keener is married to Dr. Médine Moussounga Keener, who spent 18 months as a refugee in her nation of Congo before their marriage.



Sample Pages from the Print Edition


3 ratings

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  1. James Hatch

    James Hatch


    Really helps take the blinders off some of the common errors in hermeneutics.
  2. Dirk Boersma

    Dirk Boersma


    Praise God for giving faith to Craig Keener and giving him such a sharp mind to serve his church!
  3. Robert Polahar

    Robert Polahar


  4. Eugene Oleson
Save 25% off during the Memorial Day Sale!


Digital list price: $42.99
Regular price: $33.99
Save $8.50 (25%)