Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Twist in the Hermeneutical Spiral

This morning in our staff devotions at Positive Action we beta tested the format for our Manna: Volume 4. It's essentially a God-focused approach to daily study in the Word. Frank Hamrick had us use 1 Peter 1:1-12 as our test passage. I've read that passage a gazillion times, so I don't know why some things jumped out at me now more than before. Maybe it is the clarity of the ESV.

Take a look at verses 10-12:
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

In other words, this passage teaches that the Spirit revealed to the prophets that their writings were intended for Peter's audience. Granted, their oral messages had an ancient audience of Israelites. Those messages had a specific historical intent. I believe, and the 1 Peter passage seems to agree, that the prophetic books that became part of the canon carried an authorial intent that was distinct from the message God intended the prophets to deliver to ancient Israel. This distinct intent would be a message for the NT church. (Dare I say New Covenant believers?) More on this later when I talk about my class on Old Testament Theology with John Sailhamer. The big idea is that the Spirit intended the writings of the prophets to be used by the church. I can't remember that I've ever heard anyone in my background deal with this passage thoroughly. Am I missing something here?


bsolomon said...

Interesting thought, Ben.

And also nice to see you enter the world of blogging. I'll look forward to what you have to say here. This way we get to communicate a little more often than once a year or so when you call me for a recommendation! :)

Ben said...


Great to hear from you. Now I'm actually going to have to proofread this stuff and stop inventing quotes. The truth is I did find a missing word about 10 minutes after I saw your post. I'm sure it won't be the last.


Adrian said...

More than 15 people have sung the ESVs praises on their blogs these past two weeks!


Wayne Leman said...

Yes, I totally agree. It's really quite amazing that Peter told his letter recipients that the prophets wrote things for them, things which they themselves did not really understand. I guess I hadn't thought much about that before, even though I have been reading, memorizing, and studying the Bible all my life. Recently, in our own tribal Bible translation program we translated 1 Peter and I remember revising this verse so our translation would be more accurate. I was glad I could explain to the native translator that the prophets told things for Peter's friends. And those things are for us, also, I said. Amen! I invite you to visit my blog which is about Bible translation. I have a section for the ESV.