How do you Interpret the Bible?

During a recent discussion at Jason’s blog, the subject of biblical interpretation and children came up. Jason started the conversation with a thought on the interpretation of Genesis 6.1-4. Many use this passage, mixed with the non-canonical, but important, book of Enoch I. They use the understanding found in those pages and apply it to Genesis to create what I consider a very bad doctrine – human/angel copulation. For these people, ‘sons of God’ literally mean those children produced by this act. (This is also the beginning of the Serpent Seed doctrine).

T.C. brought up explaining things to children.

In explaining the difficult passages in the Old Testament to children – how do you do it?

This is mine –

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12 NLT)

I interpret (understand, there is a difference between the Old Testament in History and the Old Testament of Faith) the phrase ‘sons of God’ through this singular verse. All things, in my opinion, point to Christ.

What is your hermeneutical principle?

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40 Replies to “How do you Interpret the Bible?”

  1. “Sons of God” are not the kids produced.  “Sons of God” were the angels.  Your response is beside the point consequently.  Assuming a ‘Son of God’  (esp. in the Hebrew bible) is such by special creation – such is our birth from above – then these beings, these ‘Sons of God’ could well be angels…watchers specially created.
    Why do you regard human/angel copulation a ‘bad doctrine’?

  2. Sticking to the party line, eh?  Angels are referred to in the OT as Sons of God.  The sons of Seth are not.  Are you suggesting that yours is the only plausible interpretation?

  3. The doctrine of election has led to hyper-calvinism.  Would you reject it because it has been misused?  If the idea of angels and humans copulating is abhorrent to you, look at how God felt about it.  He regretted (an interesting word in itself) having made any of them!!

  4. I view everything not simply through the lens of the NT, but through the revelation of God in Jesus Christ…even more restrictive and unpopular.

  5. yeah, yeah, yeah….  this bothers me.  Are you suggesting the references to ‘Sons of God’ in Job referred to the sons of Seth?  …or to humans at all?  does the NT really require this?  This is, after all, about HOW we interpret the Bible.  Insisting on unequivical meaning in linguistic structures that are (only) similar seems like an illegitimate hermeneutical principle to me…  Does context mean nothing?

  6. I tend to go with the “angels” interpretation. The ancient Near East had stories about human-divine figures, and I think Genesis 6 is an attempt to account for them, for it mentions “mighty men of old” (I don’t have my Bible in front of me).

    Plus, although I’m not the biggest fan of interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New, Jude and II Peter (I think) seem to nod to the story in the book of Enoch.

    As far as Arnold Murray goes, I don’t think accepting the “angels” view means we must treat any group alive today as sub-human, for the giants were wiped out in the flood, and another batch in the Conquest.

  7. Interpreting the OT in light of the NT in no way determines the interpretation of Gen 6 unless I am missing something.   It is perfectly permissable to reject an interpretation because you don’t like it and all it implies.  But once one invokes personal opinion as a sufficient hermeneutical princliple, one loses all right to question another’s personal opinion.
    In fact, Gen 6 implies – if it doesn’t state outright – that the Nephillim – giants, mighty men of old – came about as a result of the union.  Doesn’t sound like regular progeny.  God’s reaction seems to be over the top as well if this was ‘normal’ sexual relations.  We have no reason to assume the sons of Seth were not to marry the daughters of Cain.

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