7 Fallacies When Interpreting the Bible

16 Feb

My favorite online theologian C. Michael Patton had a great post last week outlining seven fallacies to avoid when interpreting the Bible.  In light of our recent hermeneutics discussion and ongoing textual discussions, I thought I would post it here.


1. Preunderstanding fallacy:

Believing you can interpret with complete objectivity, not recognizing that you have preunderstandings that influence your interpretation.

2. Incidental fallacy:

Reading incidental historical texts as prescriptive rather than descriptive.

3. Obscurity fallacy: 

Building theology from obscure material.

4. Etymological root fallacy:

Looking to the root etymology of a word to discover its meaning.

5. Illegitimate totality transfer:

Bringing the full meaning of a word with all its nuances to the present usage.

6. Selective use of meaning:

Selecting the meaning you like best.

7. Maverick fallacy:

Believing that you don’t need anyone but the Holy Spirit to interpret the text.

You can read his whole post here.


1 Comment

Posted by on February 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


One response to “7 Fallacies When Interpreting the Bible

  1. Jenny R.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    <p>Ben thanks for reposting this ! I found 6 and 7 intresting.</p>



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