Tag Archives: zondervan

QOTD: Vanhoozer on “Meaning”

Vanhoozer getting at the heart of interpreting and rightly understanding the Bible:


‘What it means’ is ultimately not a matter of theory only but of practice, not a matter of sheer knowledge but of wisdom. How do we know which interpretation best grasps the significance of the text? How can we evaluate various judgments as to what the text means in today’s context? I suggest that we may find a criterion in the demonstration of wisdom, in the right use of literary knowledge. Those whose minds and visions have been shaped by the biblical story and by the other types of communicative action will develop a Christian habitus—a way of life that forms habits of the head, habits of the heart, and habits of the hand. To read with understanding is to develop a Christian worldview, a spiritual orientation, and a loving way of life. The Spirit’s power is demonstrated in wisdom. Those who rightly apply “what it meant” attest the efficacy of the Word. We can go further. I propose the following four criteria for discerning the Spirit’s “ministry of the Word” among contemporary readers. We should prefer those interpretations of the Bible’s significance that demonstrate

  1. faithfulness: interpretations that extend the meaning of the text into new situations
  2. fruitfulness: interpretations that enliven the reader and show forth the Spirit’s fruits
  3. forcefulness: interpretations that edify the community, resolve problems, foster unity
  4. fittingness: interpretations that embody the righteousness of God and contextualize Christ.

Here Vanhoozer collapses “meaning” and “application” into seemingly one category. Meaning is not something abstract that we can just do our research and come up with a single timeless meaning of the text but rather meaning and application are wrapped into one. Meaning is not truly understood until it takes root in the believers life.

This seems similar to Augustine’s view, which he says “So anyone who thinks that he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbor, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.” – On Christian Teaching

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. Is There a Meaning in This Text?: The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge (Landmarks in Christian Scholarship) (p. 431). Zondervan.

Greek Reading List

I have been trying to do more Greek reading of late and I came across this list over at the Dunelm Road blog. The list is by Daniel Wallace and was originally posted by Ben Blackwell[1] here.. The order of the list is supposed to go form easiest to hardest while being grouped in about 10 chapter increments.

Theoretically one could read the whole New Testament in a month but for my studies right now that seems a little too ambitious. I do think I will try to start with a chapter a day and increase over time.

I find it best to use the Zondervan Greek Reader for when I am just reading Greek. I find by using the reader it forces me to think through words I should know but have forgotten. For example, if you come across a word that occurs more than 30x it will not be listed in the footnotes. If I were not using a reader I would have a much quicker trigger looking up a word that I already know. I prefer this reader over UBS Greek NT Reader’s Edition for a couple reasons:

  1. No parsing. I find this to be an advantage because it forces me to work on my parsing on vocabulary I do not know. In the UBS reader it parses both difficult words and every word that occurs 30x or less.
  2. Size. The Zondervan reader is roughly over half the size of the UBS Reader, which makes it much easier to carry around from place to place.

If anyone is interested in forming a Greek reading plan with me just contact me via twitter (@renshaw330) or email (brenshaw833@gmail.com). This would mostly be for accountability purposes because it is so easy to stray from reading the original languages daily.

Here is the list:

  1. John 1–11
  2. John 12–21
  3. 1 John; 2 John; 3 John; Philemon
  4. Mark 1–8
  5. Mark 9–16
  6. Matthew 1–10
  7. Matthew 11–20
  8. Matthew 21–28
  9. Revelation 1–11
  10. Revelation 12–22
  11. 1 Thessalonians; 2 Thessalonians
  12. Ephesians; Colossians
  13. Philippians; Romans 1–8
  14. Romans 9–16
  15. 1 Corinthians 1–10
  16. 1 Corinthians 11–16
  17. Galatians; James
  18. 1 Peter; 1 Timothy
  19. 2 Timothy; Titus
  20. Jude; 2 Peter
  21. 2 Corinthians 1–7
  22. 2 Corinthians 8–13
  23. Luke 1–8
  24. Luke 9–16
  25. Luke 17–24
  26. Acts 1–10
  27. Acts 11–19
  28. Acts 20–28
  29. Hebrews 1–7
  30. Hebrews 8–13

Download the PDF of the list here.

Tavis Bohlinger has several good posts on practicing greek like a violin player. You can find his introductory post here.

  1. You can follow him on twitter at @bencblackwell  ↩