9 Great Questions to Ask of the Bible

In his book, Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, G.K. Beale talks about how to interpret the Old Testament quotations we see in our New Testament. What kind of questions can we ask about these quotations that will help us understand them better? He has an elaborate 9 step process, which includes looking at the NT passage context first, and then the OT quotation passage in context as well. These 9 questions are what he asks of the the OT quotation passage, but I think they’re useful for all interpretation of the Bible:

  1. How does the paragraph in which the quotation occurs fit into the argument of the chapter itself?

  2. Is it a basis or purpose for what has preceded or for what follows?

  3. Is it a detailed explanation or interpretation of what has gone before or perhaps a summary of what is to follow?

  4. Is it an inference or result of what has preceded?

  5. Is it a response to a preceding narration of an event or conversation between two parties?

  6. Does it indicate the means by which something in the surrounding context is accomplished?

  7. Is it a contrast or comparison to something in the context?

  8. Does the paragraph answer preceding question?

  9. Is it perhaps part of a series of statements in the chapter that have no logical relationship to one another?

Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, by G.K. Beale,  pg 43-44.


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