Key Question #6: What is the author’s intention for the passage being cited?
Most of us are concerned about being “biblical,” but this can mean many things, such as being aligned with biblical truth or using the Bible as a point of reference. As you listen to someone claim biblical support from a passage, are they even considering the author’s intention for the passage (or is it just a good verse that alone seems to support a particular idea)? Few of us would say that it is proper to pull verses out of context, but many do it anyway. A good question to ask when thinking about the use of a passage is whether the biblical author would recognize it as being a legitimate use of the passage. Is the speaker really using the text to bring some other picture to mind on which his emphasis really relies? Is the passage itself a controlling force in the use of the text?
Key Question #7: What is the global significance of what is being said?
We hear much about the relativism of the postmodern world (even though relativism has been strong for a long time). What are the universal principles that undergird what is being said? On what truth should the claim be judged regarding its legitimacy? In light of how many churches have become focused inwardly, it is good to consider how their emphasis relates to the priority of churches focusing outwardly. How does this teaching relate to church planting and God’s spontaneous expansion of the church? It is also good to think in terms of the global church (as a teacher, not just a mission field). How does this speaker draw on lessons learned through the massive movements of God elsewhere in the world in the last 100 years?
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