In order to effectively interpret the New Testament, the interpreter should understand the meaning of a given text and the intention of the author as well as the text’s intended audience. In addition, an interpreter should seek out the meaning that is applicable in the modern times. This paper will analyze specific passages in the New Testament and interpret their function in the Christian lives. The writing style will also be analyzed in order to understand the deeper meaning in English (Collins 121).
The Old Testament enjoys extensive internal interpretation as compared to the New Testament. However, some examples can be recognized easily as in the different interpretation of the parables used in the New Testament. Some of the parables are derived from the traditional Christians while others are evangelically supplied. Later gospels interpretations differs from the older ones for example, Mk 9:1 “They See the kingdom of God come with power “has been changed in Mt. 16:28 into “They see the Son of Man come with power”. Another example is Mk.15:39 “Truly this man was the son of God” which changes to “Certainly this man was innocent” in Lk.23:47.
The Gospel of John aims at validating the work and presence of Jesus in the world. The Eternal life is therefore synonymous with the God’s kingdom. The changes that led to the persecution of Jesus “the King of the Jews” may appear irrelevant. However, when being interrogated by Pilate, Jesus answers in John 18: 33-38 makes it clear that his claim of kingship is in the spiritual realm. In his attempt to interpret the New Testament, Apostolic Father Clement of Rome wrote some letters to the church in Corinth. Although his collection is yet to be compiled, he tries to warn the Christians against envy and quotes the New Testament verses in his plea for mutual forbearance. According to Clement, the people who “ went about in skins of sheep and goats” Hebrews 11:37 are Elisha and Elijah. However, this is a major misinterpretation from the author’s point of view. The content in Hebrews targets the Christians in the early church. Therefore, it is not correct to assume that Clement wrote the Hebrews as suggested in Jerome’s day (Jerome & Andrew 99-125).
It is common for modern reader’s to feel that John narratives have deeper meaning than what can be read. No wonder his gospel has become an allegorical exegesis albeit with unattainable underlying significance. For example, the presence of Mary, the mother of Jesus is synonymous with a believing community (McMickle 117). John did not call Mary by her name, so a reader wonders what the deeper meaning of her presence is. The text on the Samaritan woman with five husbands, John 4:18 are also debatable. The five husbands should not be interpreted literally as this is allegorically the idol worshiping being rebuked by Jesus. This is also mentioned in 2Kings 17:30 where the Samaritan Gods are condemned. The presence of allegory and symbolism in the gospel of John cannot be easily noted by a lay reader, but deeper study of the gospel is required to bring out the deeper meanings.
The healing request by the Gentile that gave rise to a vital dialogue with Jesus is expounded by Mathew. He offers a detailed explanation through a story and an insertion by Jesus that faith is not only an important tool for getting what one desires but also for attaining salvation. Being Jesus’ evangelist, Mathew expounds on this particular theme and focuses on the healing of the Gentile. This action offers a perfect paradigm of how to apply Jesus’ teachings in a universal manner. The Jews had previously believed that they had a birthright to inherit the kingdom of God, but Mathew ascertains that this is not the case. Anyone who believes in Jesus has the ability to live a blessed life and attain eternal life (Posset 113).
The above understanding resulted from a ‘redaction-critical’ periscope’s exegesis that compares with the Lucan parallel. While the miracle in itself is a valuable periscope, Mathew emphasis on something greater that the ability of Jesus to perform miracles. On his part, Apostle Peter in Peter 3:17-22, encourages all the Christians undergoing persecution. In Peter 3:13-17, the Christians undergoing persecution are advised to remain loyal to Christ and ensure that they do not suffer in vain. Suffering should be encountered for the good deeds of Christians and not bad deeds. This theme is repeated in Peter 18:1-6 and many interpreters tend to ignore this theme on their interpretations (Posset 58).
Bible scholars have realized the various traces of creedal formulae and hymns of the early Christians. There is rhythmic and hymned structure that allows for easy memorization. Peter 3: 17 says “It is better to suffer, if suffer you must, for good deeds than for bad. 18. Because Christ also suffered for no fault of his own when he, then just one, died on behalf of the unjust”. Since Jesus rose from the dead, Christians are implored not to fear the people that are only capable of killing the physical body (Dohrmann 86) and (Mitch et al, 91).
Interpretation of the New Testament has been undertaken by many people and groups. However, some of them have offered wrong interpretation while others have offered an acceptable interpretation. By exploring the intended meaning of the author and the intended audience, this paper has used a few readings to bring out the deeper meaning within.
Collins, Adela Y. “Apocalypticism and New Testament Theology.” (2008): 31-50. Print.
Dohrmann, Natalie B. Jewish Biblical Interpretation and Cultural Exchange: Comparative Exegesis in Context. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Print.
Jerome, , and Andrew Cain. Commentary on Galatians. Washington, D.C: Catholic University of America Press, 2010. Print.
McMickle, Marvin A. Shaping the Claim: Moving from Text to Sermon. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008. Print.
Mitch, Curtis, and Scott Hahn. The New Testament. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2010. Print.
Posset, Franz. Marcus Marulus and the Biblia Latina of 1489: An Approach to His Biblical Hermeneutics. Köln: Böhlau, 2013. Print.