Scripture and Its Interpretation

A Global, Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible


15. Pentecostal Biblical Interpretation / Spirit Hermeneutics

Reviewing the Chapter

  1. How does this chapter define the terms Pentecostalism (uppercase “p”), Pentecostal, charismatic, and global pentecostalism (lowercase “p”), and to what phenomena of recent Christian history do these terms refer?
  2. What are some of the concerns and commitments that pentecostal interpreters share with other Christian interpreters of the Bible, and what are four features of specifically pentecostal interpretation?
  3. What are the main features of the pentecostal continuationist approach to scriptural interpretation?
  4. In what senses does pentecostal interpretation embrace the theological value of narrative in the Bible?
  5. How and why are pentecostal interpreters committed to treating the Bible with sensitivity to global concerns and in solidarity with the “humble”?
  6. What are some of the current challenges facing pentecostal scriptural interpreters?
  7. What does the chapter mean by “Spirit hermeneutics” and its significance for all Christians?

Engaging a Central Issue

Respond to the following claim Craig Keener makes in this chapter (pp. 281–82): “Of course, elements that characterize such ‘pentecostal’ hermeneutics should characterize any truly Christian and Spirit-led hermeneutic. . . . All Christian experience in this era must be properly ‘pentecostal’—that is, shaped by the experience of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Spirit on the church.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What similarities and differences do you perceive between pentecostal interpretation of Scripture and the interpretive approaches with which you are familiar, either from personal experience or from study? How might other approaches to Scripture answer the driving question of pentecostal hermeneutics: “How do we hear the Spirit’s voice in Scripture?”
  2. From a pentecostal perspective, how does the intellectual context of the Western churches sometimes negatively impact Western Christian interpretation of Scripture?
  3. What impact on biblical studies, and on the Christian church more generally, do you think global pentecostalism might have in the coming years?
  4. What can you appropriate from the pentecostal approaches to the interpretation of Scripture described in this chapter?