Even though the current internet traffic at stevebelsheim.com is dismal, now that I am writing content available for the entire world to see I want to make sure what I write does not “come out of left field.” An article (March 19, 2019) on Logos Talk by Mark Ward entitled “3 Sanity Checks for Odd Bible Interpretations” (https://blog.logos.com/2019/03/three-sanity-checks-for-odd-bible-interpretations/) helps to keep a student of the Word from coming “out of left field.”
While his article focuses on out of the mainstream interpretations, his sanity checks are good practice for all interpreters. Set forth below is a brief description of how I plan to apply his sanity check.
First, I will check my English translations to identify any translations that agree with my interpretation. I typically consider the ESV, NASB95, NIV, the Amplified Bible, and NLT so I cover a decent scope of translation approaches. My hope is these translations will be consistent with my interpretation. If not, then I may need to revisit my work.
Second, he suggests that the interpreter should apply the method of interpretation to the rest of the Bible by asking the question: Does my method of interpretation for this text work elsewhere? I plan to carry out this sanity check along the lines of his article. You will have to read his article to learn this test.
Third, I will examine the commentaries to see if any commentators agree with your interpretation. Through the Logos Bible study software I have access to enough commentaries to get a good case of data overload if most commentators agree, great! If not, then I will reevaluate my work.
I hope this blog has been helpful. To gain a fuller description of his sanity tests, please read Mark Ward’s article.
Note that the image is by Aaron Burden available free on upsplash.