To aid the reader’s understanding, I thought I’d post this little blurb about my viewpoint on the Holy Scriptures. By the by, I do not expect any reader to fully agree with my essays or perspective, and any immediate agreement with anything I have to say is likely a result of the Spirit of God working in that heart for many years in the same way he has worked in mine. In this first (and maybe last) written perspective on the topic, I will not be exhaustive, and I only, at present, wish to address three particulars.
The first particular I want to address is the issue of Scriptural translation. Selecting a faithful translation of the original texts is important to avoid misunderstanding or misapplication of the Holy Writ. Translations range from those which tend more toward formal equivalence, on the one hand, to those which tend toward dynamic equivalence. As I understand it, formal equivalence may be roughly defined by the desire to find an exact word in the “new” language that corresponds in meaning to the exact word in the original language. Dynamic equivalence, on the other hand, seeks not to translate word for word, but merely the sense, or rather, the idea of the original text. Obviously, at the extreme end of this are the versions that are mere paraphrases. Click here for a treatise on the issues with the dynamic approach.
The English Standard Version (ESV), published by Crossway Books, and the King James Version (KJV) are both on the formal equivalence side of the spectrum. When I quote Scripture, I primarily quote from the ESV and the KJV. I quote from the ESV because I am convinced that the translators strove for formal equivalence between the Biblical languages and modern English. Whereas the KJV was translated into 1611 English and has some distinct differences, particularly where certain words now have completely the opposite meaning from 400 years ago, it is the Bible version that cut its way into my memory banks as a young boy. If I recall a passage from memory, it is more likely to be from the KJV.
On this page, and on this blog, I have no interest in debating the King James Bible issue. If a person seriously inquiring on the subject wishes to know more of how I arrived at this point, I’d be happy to correspond. More information on both sides of the discussion, however, is found in other places.
Secondly, I interpret the Scriptures from the literal, grammatical, historical approach. Stated very simplistically, I interpret the Scriptures literally, and in context, but take into account the various types of literature (poetry, narrative, letters) in the Bible, the different types of literary devices, such as metaphor, allegory, symbolism, etc., and the different purposes and audiences of each book. Click here for a further explanation of this approach to Scripture, or reference Gordon Fee’s book, How to Read the Bible for All its Worth.
Thirdly, I take seriously the regulative principle. Stated with as much clarity as I understand it, the regulative principle says that only those elements that are instituted or appointed by command or example in the New Testament are permissible in worship. I understand this to mean that God institutes in the scriptures precisely what he requires for worship in the church and that everything else is prohibited. The other major approach, antithetical to this, is that whatever is not expressly prohibited in Scripture is permissible.
Hopefully, this helps the reader see, not only my perspective, but also a Biblical perspective.