J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays’ Grasping God’s Word

Grasping-God-s-Word-9780310259664Grasping God’s Word is a phenomenal contribution to the field of biblical hermeneutics and interpretation.  Written by two Ouachita Baptist University professors, this work takes its place alongside Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth as a reliable, accessible, strong introduction to the field.  In putting this book alongside Fee and Stuart’s, I am paying it a high compliment indeed!

I recently finished teaching a Ouachita extension class on Biblical Interpretation at Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock, AR, with this as our textbook and came away thoroughly impressed.  More importantly, the ten students who worked through the book were likewise very impressed.  I suppose the ultimate compliment for the work can be seen in the comment of one student that “every church member should work through this book.”  I agree.

The book is ideal as a college-level introduction to biblical interpretation.  It tackles fundamental questions surrounding the nature of interpretation, the challenges facing modern readers seeking to interpret scripture, the nature of scripture, the genres and type of literature one finds in scripture and the challenges that come with each.  Throughout, Duvall and Hays emphasize the need for the modern interpreter to bridge the gap between the ancient text and the modern reader with an eye toward application (they do this through a very helpful map they designed charting the interpretive journey).  This emphasis is a result of the authors’ high view of scripture and conviction that God has given the Bible to us to guide us into all truth.

The book is irenic in tone, careful, scholarly, and thorough in its treatment of the topic.  It is filled with evangelical conviction, careful and nuanced handling of difficult topics, and passion for the subject matter.  In all, this is a very well written and organized work that students of scripture will read to great effect.  Highly recommended!

9 thoughts on “J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays’ Grasping God’s Word

  1. I attend Bible Fellowship Church in Yardley, PA. Is there a powerpoint available that I can use to teach the concepts in Grasping God’s Word to our Women’s Bible Study Leaders?

    • Hi Mercedes. There is a PowerPoint version, but to my knowledge it is only available on the teacher’s resource section of Zondervan’s site. I could be wrong about that, but I think that’s correct. Here is a link to the contact page for Zondervan. You might shoot them an email and see if you can get access to the Power Point: https://hccp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

      • There is a powerpoint available and if you contact the authors or the site administrators they will gladly make the teacher’s notes available!! Last year I hosted a Bible Conference and we used this book as our primary teaching the text. I emailed the site administrators and they were very helpful!!!

        Great article by the way!!!

  2. Statements in the book such as the following were made…. “The scholarly rebuttals to Bible codes have been devastating. These rebuttals have provided strong evidence that there is nothing mystical or divine about ELS. The arguments leveled against this method of finding secret messages fall into two basic categories: that relating to probability, and that relating to textual variations… Textual variations: Another flaw in the ELS approach is that its proponents seem unaware of variations in the text of the Old Testament…”

    Yet concerning this code language that has been shot down by a many a folk, the (E)quidistant (L)etter (S)equencing was only one component of the code language itself.

    Thus ELS is not “THE” code language itself.

    Obviously, there can be a massive number of different code languages that could have been used to encode information within the Bible. Yet despite inexplicable reason, just one code language was referred to as being, “THE” Bible Code Language. Once “THE” Bible Code Language was rejected, it was instantly concluded that a “Bible Code Phenomena” simply could not exist at all.

    If mankind knows that sand comes in numerous colors, and if one in the immediate time was looking at black sand, then it would be pretty dam stupid to immediately assume that all sands elsewhere in the world are also now black. There is no magic connection between sands that are located in different locations.
    Seeing one of one color does not effect another.

    Thus seeing a code language that is composed of the use of ELS in combination with absolute rubbish, does not speak for any other code language that includes the use of ELS in combination with pure logic.

    One code language can not speak for another.

    However, in the world of Bible Codes, mental impairment is the master. Thus the rejection of just one code language is said to be the rejection of all.

    Go to https://goo.gl/38qhp and click on the yellow flashing words “Watch / Listen”.

    This takes you on a web page tour of the proper use of ELS, and of course the remarkable outcome. It does so via automatic web page scrolling along with complete audio coverage. It lasts about 10 minutes.

    • I’m curious: can you show me an example in the New Testament of Jesus or the Apostles or anybody else approaching scripture in such a way (decoding coded information)?

      • I don’t quite understand your question. As stated previously…

        Go to https://goo.gl/38qhp and click on the yellow flashing words “Watch / Listen”.

        Located at the above address there are many examples of the decoding of previously encoded information. Most of what is being exposed is related to the revealing of the fact that Jesus Christ’s/God’s signature had been encoded within the Bible many times over.

        • What I’m asking is, did either Jesus or the apostles approach the Old Testament in the way you are describing? Are there any examples of them revealing any of this coded information or validating this approach in general? After all, Jesus and the apostles interacted extensively with scripture. Is the method of hermeneutics you are advocating a method they ever employed or used?

          • What was done then, was done then. That subject is an entirely different matter. The subject at hand concerning the codes, is about the direct work of God.

            To place codes within the KJV Bible of today has nothing to do with translations of books of the past. Time is not even within the equation. God sees beyond space and time, and controls reality beyond space and time.

            The shallow minded tend to think that a God created a reality and then let it go on its way. In truth, all space and all time was created. All space and all time is a structure that can be changed. It can be changed for the good, or for the bad. Mankind’s actions make those changes. No effort at all given, simply leaves it as it was. Suffer, as did Jesus, and positive changes have been paid for. Focus upon nothing but selfish greed, and negative changes occur and have been paid for via theft.

            Anyhow, I find it shocking that 99.999999…% of the population want nothing to do with contact with God directly in the present, but choose to connect through books from the past, seen as being nothing but books from the past.

            Other than that, as expected, the website is loosing the battle since belief is beating truth these days. Truth does not stand a chance at all. The world is almost full of believers and disbelievers. Any truthers are mocked. God represents truth, so this is a sad time.

            But to get the website flash videos working again…

            Firefox – Add the “Adobe Shockwave Flash Plugin”. Click on “Activate Adobe Flash”.

            Chrome – Go to settings. Open advanced settings. Select “Privacy Content settings”. Enable “Allow sites to run Flash”.

            Microsoft Edge – Go to settings. Open advanced settings. Enable “Use Adobe Flash Player”.

          • Sean, I’m going to let your comment go through but please know, respectfully, that I find the idea of (a) hidden codes in the Bible in general (as distinct from, say, legitimate numerology operating within appropriate boundaries) and (b) hidden codes in specifically the KJV to be profoundly problematic for a variety of reasons. I would simply say that the scriptures are given to us for our edification and that what has been plainly revealed in the words themselves is more than sufficient for a lifetime of careful study, contemplation, and growth.

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