Saturday, July 23, 2016

S.T.O.P. to Discover the Meaning of a Biblical Text

In Frank Turek's latest book, Stealing from God, he suggests using the acronym S.T.O.P. to discover the meaning of any given biblical text.  It is as follows:

S-Situation?  What's the historical situation?  What do you need to know about the people and events in the story?  What's the larger context?

T-Type?  What's the type of literature?  Is it historical narrative? Poetry?  Prophecy?  Law?  Wisdom?  Epistle?  What literary devices are being used: Hyperbole? Parable?  Metaphor?  Apocalyptic Imagery?

O-Object?  Who is the object of the text?  Everyone?  Specific people?  Ancient Israel?  Is it the Old or New Covenant?

P-Prescription?  Is this passage prescriptive for us today or merely descriptive of an historical event?1

I freely concede that the Bible is a complex book full of various types of literature; however, it seems that many times otherwise intelligent people forget how to think when considering these sometimes challenging texts.  My hope is that the S.T.O.P. acronym will aid those who desire to treat the biblical texts fairly and strive to understand their intended meaning.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnote:
1. Frank Turek, Stealing from God, p. 123-124.

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