This approach majors on the social, linguistic, religious and political setting of the various books, treating them as history and or literature.
Is there any scripture offered to support this? No. What does the Bible say?
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
To rephrase this, God is saying that the things that happened in the bible are recorded as examples for our learning. They are not intended primarily as history or sociology or literature. They are to teach us spiritual lessons.
To repeat what we said earlier, even the historical parts are primarily non-literal.
Another exponent of the historical school has this to say:
Only by objective methodology can we bridge the gap between our minds and the minds of the biblical writers. Indeed, our method of interpreting Scripture is valid or invalid to the extent that it really unfolds the meaning a statement had for the author and the first hearers or readers. Ron Rhodes
Is there any scripture offered to support this? No. The Bible says:
Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
This historical approach involves a basic failure to understand the nature of inspiration. On one hand these writers acknowledge that scripture is God inspired, then on the other hand, they try and figure out what the writer meant as if the scripture were the work of the writer.
We have here a failure to understand what God inspired means. They seem to think that God inspires a writer by giving him an idea and then letting him express it in his own words. Actually God gives all the words himself. All the writer does is write what God tells him. His character, opinions, and personality have no bearing. He's just the messenger. God gives the message, and God is the message!
Here is an example from Jeremiah, where God shows us exactly how it works. The text is concerning where Jeremiah has been dictating to Baruch the words of the Lord. Jeremiah is a type of the Holy Spirit who inspires the writer, Baruch, to record his words. The issue is how did the words come to be written.
Jer 36:17 And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?
18 Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.
And this is how it works. Baruch is just a writer. He does nothing more than record the words. So his attitude, intention and opinion have nothing to do with what he writes. His social background, historical setting or linguistic patterns are only of minor interest.
It's the same with any writer of the biblical books. They are just recording what God tells them to write. Seeking Jeremiah's original intention makes no more sense that asking your computer the meaning of some document you downloaded. Or if you print a file off the internet, and are puzzled about some part of it, do you ask your inkjet printer what he had in mind? And if you really like what the file says, do you give the inkjet printer a pat on the back for doing a good job?
We don't refer to the Bible as the word of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Ezra, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and others. We call it the Word of God. Let's not forget that.
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