The word "hermeneutic" has its etymological roots in the god Hermes (the messenger of the gods) and the words hermeneuein "to interpret"; hermeneia "interpretation." cf. Hermeneutics by Bernard Ramm and others p. 7 cf. Acts 14:11,12
Runes Dictionary of Philosophy defines hermeneutics as "the art and science of interpreting especially authoritative writings; mainly in application to scared scripture, and equivalent to exegesis."
"Inspiration Theories of"
"The Bible contains the Word of God"
|Left Wing||Right Wing|
"The Bible becomes the Word of God"
|Left Wing||Right Wing|
"The Bible is the Word of God"
|Left Wing||Right Wing|
"The German term describing this intellectual world view is Weltannschauung. In recent years it has been fashionable to refer to it in English as paradigm." A number of personal, cultural, and historical elements constitute the paradigm out of which any individual understands reality. In my opinion, the current discussion of biblical interpretation within Churches of Christ is more an issue of paradigm than of particular hermeneutical strategies." (Jak Reese, CSC 1990, p. 2). "The 'new hermeneutic,' as I have argued elsewhere, is basically a paradigm shift in our driving force" (Thomas Olbricht, CSC 1990, p. 2).
The elsewhere is in "hermeneutics: The beginning Point," Image, September (pp. 14,15), October (pp. 15-17), 1989.
"Gr. episteme, knowledge + logos, theory) The branch of philosophy which investigates the origin, structure, methods and validity of knowledge." (rune's Dictionary Of Philosophy).
Two key issues:
Is Truth Absolute?
Is Truth Attainable?
"The 'rationalist/inductive perspective' refers to that philosophy of interpretation which hails especially from the mid-19th century; which attempts to reconstruct the original pattern of the nature and organization of the 'ideal' New Testament church, through what can best be called 'thoroughgoing inductivism' (i.e. through detailed attention to inductive reasoning and stated in propositional statements); whose specific method of establishing biblical authority is through specific commands or precepts, approved apostolic examples, and necessary inferences; and which respects the silence of the Scriptures in the various 'articles of faith, acts of worship, and principles of morality.'" (Gary D. Collier, Bringing the Word to Life: Biblical Hermeneutics in Churches of Christ, in Christian Studies, p. 32, footnote 3). "Dogmatic Theology adopts a deductive approach in which the group defines those elements which are significant to the on going life of the group, and then turns to Scripture to verify its conviction. This approach is sometimes called a 'proof text' or 'concordance' method of doing theology. Such a deductive approach is certainly sectarian, and most often leads to false commitment to a so-called 'apologetic' conviction. Apologetics takes the place of proclamation, and the group or movement grinds to a false sense of piety and inbred retrenchment, leading to an inevitable decline in membership and influence. Fed by a false sense of Biblical conviction, such sectarian groups are characterized by a sense of infallible self-righteousness and lack of tolerance for all who differ with their views or interpretations. What these groups fail to realize is that their position is sectarian and not in the least Biblical." (Ian Fair, CSC, 1990).
|If John is a deputy, he is a law officer.
He is a law officer. Therefore it is possible he is a deputy.
|If John is a deputy, he is a law officer.
He is a deputy. Therefore he is a law officer.
|Induction affirms the consequent and indicates probability||Deduction affirms the antecedent and guarantees the conclusion|
"(Gr. theos, god; logos, study) Simply stated, theology is a study of the question of God and relation of God to the world of reality." (Runes Dictionary of Philosophy).
"The 'biblical theology perspective' refers to an approach to Scripture which looks primarily for the theological centers of Scripture from which Scripture sets out its own parameters for interpretation." (Gary D. Collier, Bringing the Word to Life: Biblical Hermeneutics in Churches of Christ, in Christian Studies, p.33, footnote 5).
"The 'historical/contextual perspective' refers to that approach within the Churches of Christ, beginning around 1950, which is expressly interested in interacting more seriously and in advocating an historical approach that is guided by contextual restraints." (Note: originally designated "Scholarship Movement") (Gary D. Collier, Bringing the Word to Life: Biblical Hermeneutics in Churches of Christ, in Christian Studies, p. 33, footnote 4).
First, there is the simple and observable fact that, throughout Churches of Christ, many people are questioning and sometimes rejecting the traditional doctrinal system that for several generations gave Churches of Christ their distinctive identity. Acts and the Epistles as architectural 'blueprint,' as a rigid 'pattern,' as a collection of case law - these images and the interpretative method they support are steadily declining.
Some have consciously rejected this method of interpretation and begun casting about for new ones. Many other, it seems, have not intentionally rejected the traditional method but, weary with the pugnacious, debate-all-comers attitude it nurtured, have found themselves spiritually malnourished, hungry for the things of the Spirit. And so they have quietly set it aside. (Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church, pp. 19, 20).
"The truth is that biblical theology cannot distill from the current texts of the Bible a seamless body of doctrine." ". . . a kind of quarry out of which is mined facts, inerrant propositions, or sacred history . . . , which are supposed to provide a body of coherent doctrines that, in turn, furnish authoritative answers to our theological quests." (Allan McNicol, CSC, 1989).
By naturalizing the Bible as a body of 'facts,' the traditional approach atomized Scripture or broke it up into disconnected doctrinal 'facts.' The New Testament (or at least Acts and the Epistles) became, in practice, a field of doctrinal facts from which one could gather almost indiscriminately. Doctrinal propositions could be assembled from across the New Testament writings with little or no regard for historical context, for the author's intention, or for literary form and function. 'Concordance preaching' resulted - the stringing together of texts from across the New Testament based on the appearance of a single word or phrase in the concordance. (Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church, p. 33).
"Historical 'New Hermeneutic'"
"In this context 'word' as essentially existential communication the new hermeneutic formulates its concept of the Word of God. The Word of God is the existential communication of God within the text of Scripture; it is to be dug out by exegesis and exposition of the text; it is to be formulated in a kerygmatic sermon; and it is received as the Word of God by the hearer when in decision he accepts it by faith. Existential consideration permeate each step of the procedure. For this reason the new hermeneutic is very critical of the so-called neutral, objective, scientific approach to exegesis . . . " (Hermeneutics by Bernard Ramm and others p. 136)(Chapter pp. 130-139).
In Protestant Biblical Interpretation Bernard Ramm categorizes various historical schools of interpretation and clearly sets out the New Hermeneutic and its connection to Rudolph Bultmann (pp. 83-92). Ramm states: "Bultmann repeatedly states that if something is objective or historical it is not existential; if it is existential it is not objective nor historical. Faith lives only by decision and not by objective or historical supports." p.88.
In explaining the proponents of the Neo-orthodox view Geisler and Nix state regarding Emil Brunner (of the conservative wing) ". . . to consider the Bible objectively and propositionally to be the word of God is 'Bibliolatry.' It is setting up a Protestant 'paper pope.'" (General Introduction To The Bible by Norman Geisler and William Nix p. 41).
"For example, the phrase 'the new hermeneutic' is a useless and ultimately destructive one. That is partly because it technically refers to a hermeneutical agenda set by Gerhard Ebling, Ernst Fuch, James Robinson, among others, building largely on the impulse of Rudolph Bultmann. It has absolutely nothing to do with the current discussions within Churches of Christ." Under "Pastoral Concerns" (Jack Reese, CSC 1990 p.22).
"Origin Within The Church"
Speaking of those who had imbibed this philosophy Lindsell stated: "They want to be delivered from their ignorance and to enter into the new haven of advanced scholarship led by men with impeccable academic pedigrees rather than by men who are led of the Spirit of God and who have a spiritual discernment that come from the Holy Spirit and not from doctorates - although the possession of a doctorate does not mean that those who have them, of necessity, have been corrupted. But it does mean that whatever it is that men drink from has a decisive influence upon them and generally conditions them forever." (The Battle For The Bible by Harold Lindsell p. 205-206).
"A recent series of articles in he Restoration Quarterly has made it clear that a resurgence of interest in worldwide biblical scholarship began to arise within the Churches of Christ in the decades following World War II. This interest was prompted by the beginning of the graduate programs in Bible at Pepperdine, Harding, and Abilene Christian, and by the number of graduates that went on to doctoral studies from those programs. By and large, the interest spawned a commitment to the 'historical method' of interpretation, and began to express itself in a number of major publications, including (among others) the Restoration Quarterly, the Living Word Commentaries, and a festschrift specifically devoted to biblical hermeneutics." Gary D. Collier, Bringing the Word to Life: Biblical Hermeneutics in Churches of Christ, in Christian Studies, Fall 1990, 11:1, pp. 21, 22).
"Current Positions & Trends"
Jack Reese stated in his section on "Pastoral Suggestions" "4." Perhaps more than any other time in our history, we should not only allow but encourage an open pursuit of truth without fear of censure. Understanding across paradigms should allow for differences of opinion on a variety of issues. This kind of honest inquiry would lead to more rather than less biblical positions, though the process would undoubtedly be painful. 5. We should accept without disappointment the likelihood that there will be no universally accepted hermeneutic among Churches of Christ. To live with the tensions of differing positions, with open dialogue among people who genuinely and deeply believe in the full authority of Scripture might be a sign of a healthy brotherhood." (Jack Reese, CSC 1990, p. 23).
"One of the most helpful tools in equipping ourselves to differ without dividing is the realization that differing (diversity) is inherent (in the very nature) to Christianity. The first matter to be settled is not, 'Is diversity good or bad?' It is a matter of fact that, in Christianity, diversity simply is. Viewed from practically any vantage point, we are driven to this conclusion: Diversity is inherent to Christianity." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 155).
"Virtually everything we have ever divided over has been external. Just list them and look: located preachers, orphan homes, missionary societies, Bible classes, communion cups, kitchens, translations, instruments of music, buildings and their proper use, evangelistic methods, and a host of others things - most of which are external
The above is a list of things about which we have differed 180 degrees from each other. How can we possibly accept people as brothers who differ with us on such matters? In fact, there are different viewpoints to this day as to whether all the above items should be listed together. And here I must resist the temptation, as a non-instrumentalist, to enter evidence as to why the instrument should not be in the list, and thus come off smelling like a rose to all other non-instrumentalist. Others in our Restoration heritage would like to remove not only the instrument, but also orphan homes and/or translations, and/or communion cups - and/or whatever externals they hold essential to their identity.
But that was Paul's very point. It was in regard to issue over which people differed that the Christians in Rome were called on to exercise tolerance and maintain unity." (James S. Woodroof, The Church in Transition, p. 138).
It should be obvious that this diversity which is so deeply sought will provide for acceptance:
"These teachings, coupled with Jesus' desire for unity, brand division as a cardinal sin at the top of the list of all sins." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 38).
"Peace was God's big picture. It was his cardinal doctrine; the bottom line of his mission. It was the essence of what he was doing, the sum and substance of what he was all about. It is the heart, the core of his agenda on earth." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 90).
"Sources Of Authority"
"A second proposal has been given by Allan J. McNicol of the Institute for Christian Studies at Austin, Texas. McNicol begins by stating his agreement with the verdict of Gary Collier that Churches of Christ are at an impasse. It is not, however, a hermeneutical impasse, as Collier argued, but rather a theological impasse. 'In my view,' says McNicol, 'it is not hermeneutics, but theological method that stands at the rout of our problems.' No mere hermeneutic method, whether of Baconian vintage or of a historical critical mentality, can provide adequate "justification for our theological proposals." Whether using the inductivist (proof-text) method or the historical critical method which seeks to understand text in the light of its historical context, scholars in Churches of Christ have viewed the Bible as containing an 'answer' to every important theological question. It is time, according to McNicol, that we recognize the falsity of this view: 'The truth is that biblical theology cannot distill from the current texts of the Bible a seamless body of doctrine.'" (Ron Highfield, CSC, 1990, p.4)
In making a proposal for how to interpret the Bible he uses the Lord's Supper as a model. He States: "This proposal is theologically warranted on three grounds: (1) Scripture (the idea is in accord with the apostolic Gospel and Story); (2) Tradition (i.e., it is the considered view of key and significant figures in the Restoration Movement); (3) Ecumenical Teaching and practice throughout historic Christianity)." Allan McNicol (Christian Studies, Fall 1990, 11:1, p.44)
This is very similar with what the Catholic priest told me was their authority: (1) Scripture; (2) Tradition; and (3) Current teachings of the Church.
McNicol continues with some very surprising statements: "Such a method of 'doing theology' may come as a surprise to some, but it has advantages. It frees us from a restrictive view of Scripture which cannot bear the weight we place upon it. It also allows us to be more 'catholic' thus freeing the church from the grip of idiosyncratic views."
"Michael Casey proposes that scripture be perceived according to a narrative or story form model. He champions this model on the ground that it has precedence in the Biblical text, and is popular among both scholars and non scholars as a means of perceiving reality and structuring discourse. He still needs, however, to work out a story telling hermeneutic that can set forth the parameters of the faith and life of the believing community. I think that Mike is correct on both counts. Story form is more compatible with scripture, for the most part, than constitution, and more palatable to an age that denigrates authoritarianism. But still, I believe that god's relentless love for humankind made in His image is the beginning point for the story and the action of God must always take precedence over the story and its form. I can see that such a hermeneutic can be helpful, but possibly cumbersome and loose ended. It is additionally the case that narrative is not too descriptive of legal, wisdom, and certain prophetic, apocalyptic, and epistolary materials, so that their incorporation must be addressed." (Thomas Olbricht, CSC. 1989, p. 7) Emphasis mine, T.L.
"The ultimate truth I need in my life is not merely propositional but is ultimately relational, What I know at an epistemological level is fruitless until I enter it at an existential level. Then, in a relational existential state called in the New Testament 'salvation in Christ,' the Holy Spirit takes up his abode in me. As a matter of fact, our failure to admit the Holy Spirit and prayer into the process may have been our most fundamental methodological error--in both hermeneutics and apologetics." (Rubel Shelly, CSC. 1990, p. 14)
James Woodroof stated regarding the Jews: "They had become enamored by the written Word but oblivious to the Living Word." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 29).
"The veil clouding our understanding can be removed if we will agree to 'turn to the Lord' and let the Lord Jesus be the lens through which we view the written Word. Just as it is necessary to look through the Word to understand the Lord, so must we now turn and look through the Lord to understand the Word. Jesus must become the lens through which we view every doctrine, every relationship, every facet of life. Nothing must be allowed to lie outside that perspective." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 37).
"Plugging into any part of the Scriptures, except the Gospels, expecting there to find power, is like plugging an electric motor into a reflection of a power outlet." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 34).
"In view of the above factors, a most disconcerting fact for a church accused of possessing 'head only' religion is the reality that the majority of people on the earth are not primarily, and certainly not exclusively, rational but emotional in their religious thinking." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p. 50).
For the most part the advocates of the "New Hermeneutic" have been negative rather than positive in their approach. They have specifically attacked:
Patternism as seen in Commands-Inference-Example
Viewing Scriptures as Constitutional Law Versus "Love Letters"
Silence As Being Prohibitive
"Tom Olbricht is on the right track in his suggestive paper 'Hermeneutics: The Beginning point.' He argues that our hermeneutic crisis was brought on by a larger grass roots 'paradigm shift,' a change in our whole constellation of beliefs, sensibilities and epistemology which forms the context in which we think about particular issues. My understanding of our situation is substantially the same as Olbricht's. The CIE method no longer makes sense because we no longer believe its aim is central to the Christian faith. It no longer answers our pressing questions concerning meaning, love, relationships, personal knowledge of God, inspiration for daily living. Orthodoxy (right opinion) is giving place to Orthocardia (a good heart), to coin a word. The need for intellectual certainty based on logical argumentation has been replaced by desire for firm commitment based on religious and moral experience. The church is no longer defined in people's minds as the place where the five "acts of worship" are carried out in a scriptural manner or as a divine institution organized according the scriptural pattern. Rather, the church is important because it provides a community of fellow believers in Christ, a fellowship of love and warmth, a sense of identity and belonging, moral reinforcement for parents in their efforts to train their children, and uplifting life centered messages." (Ron Highfield, CSC. 1990, p.6)
I think, however, that we must observe that the older hermeneutic was less interested in ascertaining what the text meant, than in determining authorized patterns for the twentieth century church. --I think Allan is correct -- that we are not so much in a hermeneutic as in a theological method or authority crisis. (Thomas Olbricht, CSC. 1989, p.8)
"The command-example-necessary inference hermeneutic focuses on the rules (that is, rules of logic), and the results, rather than on the actions of God. It gets the cart before the horse. We are committed to the book of God, but not for its own sake, but to the God of the book." (Thomas Olbricht, CSC. 1989 pp. 11-12).
"I think that maybe the problem, or at least one of the problems, for our particular group, those of us who call ourselves the Church of Christ, is that we may perhaps be requiring that men follow patterns which are not out-in-out in conflict with Scripture, they are in wonder harmony with Scripture - most of the time. It is just that we have required that men sometimes ascribe to these patterns and these philosophies, which while they are not out of harmony with Scripture, the Scripture doesn't say that everybody has to follow these patterns and guidelines. One of the major questions, or major approaches that is so common in our fellowship or our particular group is a perspective of looking at the Scriptures. Is our pattern or our plan of biblical exegesis - how do you know what the Bible really says to do when you go to the Bible? Do we have a little pattern or little form? It is called - well, we know it by three ways: by command, by example, by necessary inference. If it commands it, you do it. If you find an example of it in Scripture, then that's binding upon you. If its necessarily inferred by Scripture, then that's binding upon you. At least that's been the perspective of the Churches of Christ for about a century or more. And, I think that's one of the reasons why perhaps we are so divided today. And, I subscribe whole-heartedly, one hundred percent, to that idea of whatever the Bible commands we are to do. But when it comes to the concept of finding out what we are supposed to do by those other two avenues, by example and by necessary inference. I didn't buy that. It doesn't work. There isn't a Church of Christ anywhere who's consistent with that philosophy." (Paul Roberts, Radio Sermon From Westwood Church of Christ, March 5, 1989)
"Possibly the most widely accepted view among certain front runners in Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, Nashville, San Antonio, and Searcy is that the scripture is not constitution or code book, as envisioned by the old hermeneutic, but is a lover letter from God." (Thomas Olbricht, CSC. 1989, p.6)
Bernard Ramm observes under "The existential principle" "According to Keirkegaard . . . To read the Bible thoughtlessly or carelessly or academically or professionally is not to read the Bible as God's word. As one reads it as a lover letter is read, then one reads it as the word of God. The Bible is not God's word to the soul until one reads it as one ought to read the word of God. 'He who is not alone with God's Word is not reading God's Word,' pens Keirkegaard." (Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, p.75).
UNDER THE SECTION "PROBLEMS" (1) The traditional approach elevated inorganic, impersonal, and mechaniestic models of the Bible, the church, and the Christian life. In this it simply reflect the Enlightened spirit of the age. Just as scientist of the day mechanized and depersonalized the cosmos, so theologians tended to mechanize and depersonalize the Bible. The Bible became a kind of constitution (analogous to the U.S. Constitution), an architectural blueprint, a legal brief, a system of 'facts.' The Bible became an inert object, a compendium of separate facts and commands rather than an unified, personal story of God's acts and character. (Leonard Allen, The Cruciform Church, p. 31).
Much division in the Restoration movement has resulted from interpretative disagreements regarding the exhaustive blueprint and attendant prohibitive role of silence. Perhaps our history of fragmentation suggests that the patter concept of Scripture may not be consonant with the New Testament itself. (Woody Woodrow, CSC. 1984, p.7)
The fact that many now regard the matter of silence as being permissive rather than prohibitive is well illustrated in the 29 page poem included the the book The Church In Transition "A Dream Of Judgment": A Poem Concerning Those Who Make Laws Based On Inferences From The Silence Of Scripture, by John Carrol Brown. (pp. 181-210).
At the FHU Church Leaders forum, the participants in favor of Instrumental Music being in the realm of opinion indicated that whenever a person participated in something which God had not explicitly authorized and were condemned of God for doing it, it was because they had a bad heart or were insincere. There are specific Scriptures which address this (Deut. 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; II John 9-11; Revelation 22:18-19). Yet there is also a specific example. David wanted to build the Lord a House. The Lord's reply to David was: "In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed by people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?" (II Sam. 7:7). David's heart was right and he was certainly sincere, but the Lord said "not without My permission, wait until you are asked!"
"Implications & Future Directions"
It is obvious that there is at least a denigration of the written Word in favor of some subjective view of what Christ would be.
"The Jews in the days of Jesus and Paul were focused on the Scriptures when they should have been focused on Christ." (James S. Woodroof, The Church In Transition, p.35)
There is also an embracing of the positions of "higher criticism"
"Whatever the source of the aversion to biblical criticism, failure to gain and use its tools and methods has generated great harm within our fellowhip. . . Historical criticism delves into the circumstances of the writing of the original text. Grammatical criticism looks closely at the language and thought patterns of the text. Source criticism explores literary sources which shaped or are reflected in a text. Form criticism studies the for, content, and function of a text and tries to establish the situation which was instrumental in producing or shaping it into its present form. Redaction criticism seeks to determine a writer's theological goals for shaping his material in the form known to us. Which of these concerns about the human authorship of a text is skeptical, irrelevant, or improper? To the contrary, each makes a significant contribution to the proper interpretation of the text." (Rubel Shelly, CSC 1990, pp. 10,11).
There is also an obvious similarity with the conclusions reached by others:
John A.T. Robinson speaks of his "reluctant revolution" and how this will radically affect one's perception of God. He quotes freely from Bultmann and Bonhoeffer. In the effects which this will have he refers to the "New Morality" of Joseph Fletcher. Quoting him he says: "'Christian ethics', he says, 'is not a scheme of codified conduct. It is a purposive effort to relate love to a world of relativities through a casuistry obedient to love.'" (J.A.T. Robinson, Honest To God, p.116). He continues: It is, of course, a highly dangerous ethic and representatives of supra naturalistic legalism will, like the Pharisees, always fear it. Yet I believe it is the only ethic for 'man come of age.'" (J.A.T. Robinson, Honest To God, p.117).
Consider what James Woodroof has stated:
"In a word, we must implement agape love. Here, and here alone is the power." (p.173).
"Love is the glue that holds us together (whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female, black or white; both meat eaters and vegetarians; those on both sides of the war question, or both sides of the divorce issue, or both sides of the instrument question; and on the campus conflict, and all sides of so many other issues that have divided and are dividing those who in faith have been baptized into Christ.)" (p. 174).
"Love is not the best way to achieve unity; it is the only way." (p.174).
"The reader will find a method here, but no system. It is a method of 'situational' or 'contextual' decision making, but system building has no part in it."
"If this is 'system phobia' let the epithet be duly noted!" "Bultmann was correct in saying that Jesus had no ethics, if we accept, as I do not, his definition of ethics as a system of values and rules 'intelligible for all men.' Yet the point is not so much that there is no such universal ethic (on that score Bultmann is entirely firm ground) but that no ethic need by systematic and Jesus' ethic most certainly was not!" (Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics, pp.11,12)
"Legalism in the Christian tradition has taken two forms. In the Catholic line it has been a matter of legalistic reason, based on nature or natural law. These moralists have tended to adumbrate their ethical rules by applying human reason to the facts of nature, both human and subhuman, and to the lessons of historical experience. By this procedure they claim to have adduced universally agree and therefore valid 'natural' moral laws. Protestant moralists have followed the same adductive and deductive tactics. They have taken Scripture and done with it what the Catholics do with nature. Their Scriptural moral law is, they argue, based on the words and sayings of the Law and the Prophets, the evangelists and apostles of the Bible. It is a matter of legalistic revelation. One is rationalistic, the other Biblicistic; one is natural, the other Scriptural. But both are legalistic."
"Even though Catholic moralists deal also with 'revealed law' (e.g. 'the divine positive law of the Ten Commandments') and Protestants have tried to use reason in interpreting the sayings of the Bible (hermeneutics), still both by and large have been committed to the doctrines of law ethics." (Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics, pp. 11, 12)
"Conclusion & Call For Action"
Nehemiah 8:1-18 "1And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. 2And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
9And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. 10Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. 11So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. 12And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.
13And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 14And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. 18Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner."
Deuteronomy 27:26 "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen."
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 "11For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it."
II Timothy 2:24-26 "24And the servant of the Lord must not
strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure
will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And
they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken
captive by him at his will."