Thursday, June 25, 2015

My advice to young pastors

Give a pastor a commentary and you feed him for a day; teach a pastor linguistics and you feed him for a lifetime.


  1. Not exactly. There's more to exegesis than syntax or the meaning of words. There's knowing the culture. There's systematic theology. There's the cultural preunderstanding. There's the problem or situation which the text was addressing. There are background conditions to take into account.

    1. We don't just exegete the text in a vacuum, parsing linguistic units. There's the world that produced the text. The world that the text engages.

    2. In that regard, commentaries can be quite helpful.

    3. Agreed. My degree is in Ancient Semitic languages, so I'm no stranger to arguing for the application of sound linguistics to biblical interpretation. However there is always the tendency/danger in academia to think and act like your particular specialization is the most important of them all.

      Not only is there a place for, there is a need for commentaries dealing with all sorts of issues that wouldn't have been the focus of the type of studies I did in my MA. Text-linguistics and linguistics alone do not a competent interpreter make.

      Commentaries that either focus on, or include things such as ANE or Greco-Roman backgrounds, general cultural issues, application, theological synthesis, etc, would all fall outside the areas covered by linguistic specialists.

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