The World of the Bible: Indispensable Context in the Study of the Old Testament
Monika Bajić ; Biblical institute, Zagreb
|Full text: english PDF||pg. 135-150|
The Bible was not originally written for the modern reader, but the testimony of the Church is that it continues to speak God’s word to readers/hearers today. However, many modern Bible readers come across texts that need further explanation because the biblical authors did not offer clarification of their writings. They assumed the readers of their time were familiar with the background and could understand the reported events without further explanation. To achieve a “legit” interpretation of Old Testament texts, we first need to understand Scripture correctly, meaning that the biblical text must be read in its narrower and broader context. Only within a context does it become clear what the author meant to say. The main argument of this article is to exhibit that the Bible can only be fully understood against the backdrop of the Ancient Near East (ANE). The broader context consists of the knowledge of surrounding nations during Bible times (i.e., Hebrew Bible). By examining ANE texts and archeological findings we achieve a more complete and enriched comprehension of a given scriptural text or passage. This article exhibits through some concrete examples how archeological findings, inscriptions, and Ancient Near East texts can aid in understanding the broader context of the Old Testament world. In return, the wider context of the Bible world can enlighten or clarify a difficult, incomprehensible, or ambiguous biblical text and henceforth scriptural interpretation become more accurate and closer to the original message and meaning.
Old Testament, interpretation, OT texts, Ancient Near East, ANE texts, archeology, archaeological findings and inscriptions, biblical text, context, ancient worldview, surrounding nations