- The purpose of the given text is to set moral standards for females and stop ill-treatment of those who were just suspected with no guilt proven. The meaning of the passage is that people of God dedicate themselves to being pure in every single aspect of their lives. Adultery is impurity that has to be eliminated only with the help of the priest and sacrificial system. Unfaithfulness is a sin for which one has to be punished by the law of God (Andrews, 2016). It is thus possible to say that the text describes a ritual that is performed by the priest in the name of God to determine if a woman is impure or not to make her a curse.
- Even though nowadays, the ritual described in the passage is not applied to women suspected in adultery, such texts may be used for learning biblical concepts, including marital fidelity and punishment. Despite abhorrent commands discussed in the passage, even for a modern man, its meaning does not imply an unfair treatment of women compared to men. Texts like this one can be neither ignored nor explained due to their historical value and irrelevance from the point of the New Testament.
- If there are commands in the Old Testament that seem to be apparently “wrong”, one should seek for their non-apparent meaning to understand God’s intention behind them. It is thus important to be open-minded and remember that God did not mean to hurt people (Fee & Stuart, 2014). For example, instead of thinking that God allowed harsh punishments for a woman, one should consider that such a ritual was aimed at preventing man from being suspicious of his wife. The fact that the punishment was applied solely to a woman may be explained by the importance of a child’s legitimacy which depended on a mother.
- Even though there is no biblical basis for neglecting and obeying particular commands described in the Bible, one could say that not all commands of the Bible apply today. It is important to know that categories of commands described in the Old Testament are civil, religious (related to sacrifices, food laws), and ethical. Nowadays, religious and civil commands no longer apply, and this is reiterated by the New Testament (Klein, Blomberg, & Hubbard, 2017). The Bible thus must be viewed as a narrative in which previous chapters are clarified by the subsequent ones.
- Perhaps the most personally meaningful and encouraging thing that was learned from the required readings is the belief in the concept of unconditional love which God has always shown toward people. Despite the fact that there are readings in the Old Testament in which it seems rather hard to find this love, it is important to always stick to the thought that it exists behind every God’s intention. One particular insight obtained from the readings is that there is nothing immoral God would allow one to do of which that person would not be aware.
- It needs to be mentioned that these ideas and concepts may be helpful for those who want to understand the Bible but do not know how. Explaining these concepts to people will assist them in discovering both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In addition, for an individual working in a ministry or church, it is crucial to be guided by the above-mentioned concepts.
- There is an explanation why the Old Testament narratives are not intended to teach moral lessons. Nowadays, the Old Testament no longer serves as a solid guide for morality and is used rather as a multi-volume narrative. Though one could think that the Old Testament is thus unreliable and outdated, it should be considered that it is still important due to its cultural and historical value.
- If one ignores some abhorrent commands described in the Old Testament, it becomes clear that there are also some moral lessons that could be learned and taught. The way in which one could learn from the Old Testament is by interpreting some of the ideas using the New Testament and assuming that unconditional love to people is behind every strict punishment ever sentenced by God. However, it is no longer appropriate to derive moral lessons from the Old Testament (Fee & Stuart, 2014). In order to understand a major part of God’s revelation, it is much better to read the Old Testament as a narrative.
- From the book, one could learn that no special or unique interpretation of the Bible is needed. The aim of good interpretation is to capture the plain meaning of the text that the author intended to deliver. At the same time, such mistakes as allegorizing, decontextualizing, selectivity, moralizing, misappropriation, and false combination should be avoided.
- It is unfeasible to discuss any disagreement or agreement with the authors of the book since they express their personal understanding of the Bible and its appropriate interpretation. Therefore, it is not possible to say where one agrees or disagrees with the authors.
Andrews, E. D. (2016). Interpreting the Bible: Introduction to Biblical hermeneutics. Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House Books.
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Fee, G., & Stuart, D. (2014). How to read the Bible for all its worth (4th ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Klein, W., Blomberg, C., & Hubbard, R. (2017). Introduction to Biblical interpretation (3rd ed.). Nashville, TN: Zondervan.