Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gasque: the historical setting

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
    Feast of Simon & Jude, Apostles
    I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
    —Revelation 1:9 (NIV)
    A basic principle in the interpretation of the Bible is that one must first ask what a given Scripture was intended to mean to the people for whom it was originally written; only then is the interpreter free to ask what meaning it has for Christians today.
    Failure to ask this primary question and to investigate the historical setting of Scripture have prevented many Christians from coming to a correct understanding of some parts of the Bible. Nowhere is this more true than in respect to the last book in the Bible. Here, there has been a singular lack of appreciation for the historical background of the book; the book has been interpreted as if it were primarily written for the day in which the expositor lives (which is usually thought to be the end time), rather than in terms of what it meant to the first-century Christians of the Roman province of Asia for whom it was originally written. This has resulted in all sorts o! f grotesque and fantastic conclusions of which the author of the Revelation and its early recipients never would have dreamed.
    ... W. Ward Gasque, Sir William M. Ramsay: Archaeologist and New Testament Scholar, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966, p. 48 (see the book)
    See also Rev. 1:9; Rom. 2:7; 5:3-4; 2 Thess. 1:4-5; Heb. 10:34-36; Rev. 3:10; 4:2; 13:10; 14:12
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, help me to understand those to whom You have spoken.
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