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Mobile Ed: BI101 Introducing Biblical Interpretation: Contexts and Resources (5 hour course)
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Mobile Ed: BI101 Introducing Biblical Interpretation: Contexts and Resources (5 hour course)


Lexham Press 2013–2016

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The Bible is a vast, complex book, and while some of its contents can be understood by a child, much of it requires careful thought. How do we interpret the Bible correctly? Why do biblical scholars disagree on interpretation?

Dr. Mike Heiser introduces students to the science and art of Bible interpretation. The Bible is a book written for us but not to us, so accurate interpretation needs to be informed by the ancient worldview of the biblical writers, their historical circumstances, cultural and religious beliefs of their day, literary genre, and the original languages of the Bible. Learn the necessary tools for accurate and meaningful biblical interpretation.

Earn a Mobile Ed Certificate of Completion when you invest in your education. Learn more about the Certificate Program.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion you should be able to:

  • Understand a variety of difficulties inherent to biblical interpretation
  • Grasp the crucial role of context for biblical interpretation
  • Comprehend the need for competence in various contexts—worldview, history, religion, literary—for accuracy in biblical interpretation
  • Be aware of academic resources for recovering the contexts of the biblical writers
  • Understand the differences in types of biblical commentaries
  • Be acquainted with a range of biblical genres and literary devices
  • Appreciate the role of literary genre in discovering the meaning of a biblical text
  • Comprehend how word form and word relationships contribute to word meaning

Course Outline

Unit 1: Obstacles to Interpretation

  • Introduction: Meaning Is Not Self-Evident
  • Obstacle #1: Presuppositions
  • Obstacle #2: The Author
  • Obstacle #3: The Reader
  • Obstacle #4: The Medium
  • Obstacle #5: The Meaning
  • Obstacle #6: Translation
  • Obstacle #7: Precedent
  • Obstacle #8: Context
  • Obstacle #9: Relevance
  • Obstacle #10: Validation
  • Quiz – Unit 1

Unit 2: Seeing the Bible in Context

  • Reading Isn’t Seeing
  • Three Biblical Contexts
  • Quiz – Unit 2

Unit 3: Worldview Context

  • Introduction to Worldview Context
  • The Historical Context
  • The Cultural Context
  • The Religious Context
  • Tools for Worldview Context
  • Primary Sources
  • Finding English Translations of Ancient Texts
  • Reference Works
  • Using Reference Works to Study Ancient Background Context
  • Academic Monographs
  • Monographs for Studying Ancient Background Context
  • Bible Commentaries
  • Devotional or Popular Commentaries
  • Expositional Commentaries
  • Scholarly Commentaries
  • Illustrating Different Types of Commentaries
  • Journal Articles
  • Finding Scholarly Journals in Logos
  • Software
  • Logos 5 Tools for Background Research
  • Online Resources
  • Using Online Resources for Biblical Interpretation
  • Quiz – Unit 3
  • Midterm Exam
  • Unit 4: Literary Context

    • Introduction to Literary Context
    • Genre
    • Genre Examples
    • Old Testament Narrative
    • Illustrating Characterization in Old Testament Narrative
    • Old Testament Genealogy
    • Finding Meaning in Old Testament Genealogies
    • Old Testament Legal Texts
    • How Literary Genre Informs the Meaning of a Passage
    • Psalm Types
    • Psalm Interpretation
    • Old Testament Wisdom
    • Proverbs
    • Old Testament Prophecy and Apocalyptic
    • Old Testament Prophecy vs. Apocalyptic
    • Interpreting Old Testament Prophecy
    • The Funeral Dirge Subgenre of Prophecy
    • An Example of the Funeral Dirge Subgenre
    • The Disputation Subgenre of Prophecy
    • An Example of the Disputation Subgenre
    • The Lawsuit Subgenre of Prophecy
    • An Example of the Lawsuit Subgenre
    • The War Oracle Subgenre of Prophecy
    • Quiz – Unit 4a
    • New Testament Narrative
    • New Testament Epistle
    • Illustrating the Structure of New Testament Letters
    • New Testament Hymn
    • New Testament Domestic Code
    • New Testament Vice/Virtue List
    • New Testament Prophecy and Apocalyptic
    • New Testament Prophecy vs. Apocalyptic
    • New Testament Apocalyptic
    • Prophecy Fulfillment: Literalism and Single Intent
    • Literalism and Single Intent in Amos 9
    • The Adaptation of Amos 9 in Acts 15
    • A Non-Literal Understanding of Amos 9
    • Prophecy Fulfillment and Sensus Plenior
    • The Analogical Fulfillment of Prophecy
    • The “Already but Not Yet” Fulfillment of Prophecy
    • Literary Devices
    • The Acrostic as a Literary Device
    • How Acrostics Work
    • Chiasm as a Literary Device
    • Examples of Chiastic Structure
    • Gematria as a Literary Device
    • Hyperbole as a Literary Device
    • Imagery as a Literary Device
    • Metaphor as a Literary Device
    • The Importance of Context for Understanding Metaphors
    • Merism as a Literary Device
    • Poetic Parallelism
    • Simile as a Literary Device
    • Typology as a Literary Device
    • Quiz – Unit 4b

    Unit 5: Linguistic Context

    • Introduction to Linguistic Context
    • Word Level
    • How to Work at the Word Level
    • Detecting the Form
    • How to Detect the Original Language Form (Morphology) of Words
    • Determining Word Relationships
    • Detecting and Using Word Relationships in Interpretation
    • Detecting Semantic Range
    • Tools for Thinking about the Semantic Range of a Word’s Meaning
    • Understanding and Analyzing at the Word Level
    • Using Scholarly Commentaries for Word-Level Bible Study
    • Context Is King
    • Manuscript Divergences
    • Finding Original Manuscript Differences behind English Translations
    • Understanding Manuscript Divergences: The Text of the Old Testament
    • Understanding Manuscript Divergences: The Text of the New Testament
    • Quiz – Unit 5

    Unit 6: Application

    • The Need for Application
    • Individual Application
    • Pastoral Application
    • Final Exam

Product Details

  • Title: BI101 Introducing Biblical Interpretation: Contexts and Resources
  • Instructors: Dr. Mike Heiser
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Product Type: Logos Mobile Education
  • Resource Type: Courseware, including transcripts, audio, and video resources
  • Courses: 1
  • Video Hours: 5

About Michael S. Heiser

Dr. Michael S. Heiser is the academic editor for Logos Bible Software, Bible Study Magazine, and the Faithlife Study Bible. His varied academic background enables him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson both directly contribute to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.

Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds and MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He is the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and can do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He also specializes in Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature. In addition, he was named the 2007 Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.

Getting the most out of Mobile Ed

Logos Mobile Education is a highly effective cross-platform learning environment that integrates world class teaching with the powerful study tools and theological libraries available in Logos Bible Software. Every course provides links to additional resources and suggested readings that supplement the lecture material at the end of every transcript segment.

This course was produced with screencast videos. These videos provide tutorials showing you how to use Logos Bible Software in ways that are tied directly into the content of the course. We are now producing Activities resources as a replacement for screencast videos. We plan on updating this course to include this additional Activities resource in the future for no extra charge.