Chapter 1: When My Ox Gores My Neighbor: Sinai Thunders
"Secure sinners must hear the thundering of Mount Sinai before we bring them to Mount Zion." George Whitefield
What to Expect
What were you thinking? When you opened this book, you had a lot of expectations on what this book was going to be about. If you are from an agricultural background, you might have thought this book was going to be about oxen. You could be a literal person and might have picked it up and thought this is a book on what to do when an ox gores a neighbor. If you like to reads novels, you might pick up this book and think this is a story of when an ox gored someone's neighbor and what they did to help their neighbor. If you picked up this book with these expectations, you were wrong. However, for the literal person if you come across a neighbor that has been gored by an ox, call 911. The more studious reader probably read the Title When My Ox Gores My Neighbor: Using Hermeneutics to travel from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion then read the back to see what this book is all about. The studious reader left his expectations at the door so that he would not be seen as a fool and not be disappointed. This book is about two things. The first is how to study a particular passage in the Bible. The second is how to use what we studied and point it to the gospel.
Backgrounds are not bad. They in part make up who we are. We either started up rich or poor under a certain ethnicity in certain circumstances to different people. We all made choices that brought us to where we are today. If you are like me, those choices were most likely bad choices than good choices. We all have different beliefs that drive us to do different things. When we enter in to the book world, we come across someone completely different from us. They are writing down their thoughts, feelings, and research so that someone can understand the author. Today this world has lost sight of what the author is trying to say. The postmodern media's message is it is all about the individual, the reader. They say, "I know you are writing this but I want it to mean something completely different." This type of thinking is called the reader response method. If you decide to read this book this way, it will break my heart. This is not how to pass a test in math. The math textbook says two plus two equals four. If a student were to read the textbook with the reader response method, they could decide that two plus two equals eight. Do that and you will get a big fat red F on your test. The right way to read any book is authorial intent. Authorial intent is a fancy term for saying read the book the way the writer of the book wanted you to read it.
That is what hermeneutics is all about. Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation. It is how to interpret scripture. Good hermeneutics is reading the Bible the way God wanted his people to read it. God had a person write the material to particular people in certain circumstances at an exact time. God wants us to take that message and see what principles can be taken from that passage to draw us closer to Him. John Macarthur puts it like this, "At the heart of our hermeneutics is this basic assumption-when God revealed truth, He intended to communicate to us. He used the normal conventions of human language common to the people and time when His revelation came."1
This book is not a textbook about hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the study of interpretation. It is how we study the Bible. The Bible is the word of God and there is no higher pleasure in the Christian life than to study the word of God. It is the tool that draws us to the heart and mind of God. It shows us how God has dealt with His people in history. The Bible is of immense value because as II Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." I love hermeneutics. This book will use hermeneutics as a guide to take us from one passage of scripture and point us to our sin and then take us to the savior who washes away all sin.
Why use only one passage of scripture? There are so many good books and DVD's on hermeneutics. Most of them are very long. They use many passages and great hermeneutical studies on them. They take you step by step into the hermeneutical world of genres, histories, covenants, and etc. If I tried doing that, it would not be as good as what is already written. So this book is going to focus on one type of hermeneutical study. That is hermeneutics in the Old Testament. The modern Christian just gasped and shut this book. There is a prevailing theme in Christianity to ignore the left side of the Bible, much less study it. That is extremely sad. Because the whole Bible points to Jesus and "is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." Jesus said in John 5: 39-40 to the Pharisees, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." All of those scriptures Jesus was talking about was the Old Testament.
This particular passage is also in the law. Why is this a big deal? It is because the law condemns all men so that no one can boast. Romans 3:19 , "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God." The law condemns us so it can bring us to Christ. Just read the rest of the Romans chapter.
What is this passage of Study? It is Exodus 21:28-32/
Josiah Nichols has a BA in Bible and Preaching Ministry from St. Louis Christian College and over two years of pastoral ministry experience. He has a passion to share the gospel to the lost and teach Christians how to study God's Word. He loves to study hermeneutics, systematic theology, apologetics, and church history. His one goal in life is to know and love Jesus more, and help others to do the same. Josiah has a beautiful wife and daughter.