Hugh’s News & Views (Gifted Or Authorized?)


In the worship of the church the New Testament authorizes Christians to sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; et al). Singing was the specified kind of music to be offered in worship to God by Christians. It was over 600 years after the establishment of the church before instrumental music first began to appear in worship, and some historians say it was at least 1000 years after the church began before instrumental music appeared.

When the Protestant Reformation began, most, if not all, Protestants rejected the use of instrumental music in worship because they viewed it as a part of the apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church. Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists early in their history opposed instrumental music in worship. David Benedict, in his book, Fifty Years Among the Baptists, published in 1859, stated: “Staunch old Baptists in former times would have as soon tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries” (as cited by Alan E. Highers, editor, The Spiritual Sword, Volume 35, No. 2, January 2004). Continue reading

#culture, #giftedness, #hermeneutics, #hughfulford, #music

The process of Bible study

This acrostic (“TIP”) might be helpful in remembering the necessary process of studying the Bible. Much can be said about each step, but this little item attempts to provide us a brief reminder. Continue reading

#bible-study, #hermeneutics

What role does prayer play in understanding the Bible?

In April I’ll be teaching an intensive study on “Exegese and Hermeneutics” as a part of a congregation training program in another state. The program focuses on helping the men learn better to preach and teach.

I’d like to do a short segment on prayer. Please respond in the comments, or send me an email, with your thoughts on what role prayer plays in understanding the Bible.

Of course, I don’t expect anyone to tell us that we should pray and then God will give us a revelation. I would like, however, some specific ideas on the topic.

So this is not a gotcha question. I’m looking for some practical perspectives that I can offer these men.

#prayer #Bible-study #exegese #hermeneutics

Hugh’s News & Views (A Hermeneutic . . .)


For those who may not be familiar with the term, “hermeneutics” refers to “the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.” Everyone who reads the Bible (or any other literary document) has a hermeneutic, a way of determining the meaning of what he or she is reading. It may be a valid hermeneutic or it may be an invalid one. It may enable the reader to correctly understand what he or she is reading or it may lead the reader to wrong conclusions. Continue reading

#hermeneutics, #hughfulford, #morality

May 2016 Issue of Christian Worker (How to Study the Bible – Part 2.)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • How to do a Topical Study (Dewayne Bryant)
  • Words of Wisdom for Better Bible Study (Cody Westbrook)
  • How to do a Word Study (Kevin Cauley)
  • How to Study a Book of the Bible (Richard Rutledle)
  • How to do a Character Study (Randy Robinson)
  • How to Study Apocalyptic Literature (Sam Dilbeck)
  • Terms and Tools (John Haffner)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2016 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#bible-character, #bible-characters, #bible-difficulties, #bible-exposition, #bible-study, #bible-words, #book-of-revelation, #books-of-the-bible, #hermeneutics, #scripture-study, #topical-study, #word-studies, #word-study

Hugh’s News & Views (Malchus’ Ear)


Even seemingly trivial incidents recorded in scripture often contain great lessons for those who are willing to learn from them. The apostle Paul was absolutely right when he said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable . . .” (II Timothy 3:16-17). Consider the following incident recorded in all four of the gospel records.

“And, suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear” (Matthew 26:51, NKJV). From this text, we do not know who cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, we do not know the servant’s name, nor do we know which ear was cut off. Continue reading

#bible, #hermeneutics, #hughfulford, #salvation

Hugh's News & Views (No Interpretation)


In the June 15, 2014 issue of the Auburn Beacon, bulletin of the University Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama, Andy Sochor had an article regarding the “Heresy Trial” of Robert Wallace Officer (1845-1930). R. W. Officer, at one point in his life, served as a missionary for the Liberty Baptist Association.

During this six-year period, he faced several charges of heresy (i.e., of not preaching standard Baptist doctrine), and eventually was arraigned before the Association that met with the Poplar Creek Church in Limestone County, Alabama, and tried for heresy. Continue reading

#bible, #hermeneutics, #hughfulford, #interpretation

When it doesn't sound right, demand a recount

When I was a kid there was a bet (a little game really) that went something like, “I can count to 100 in 5 seconds.” When the “bet” was called, the challenger would simply say, “1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100.” And voila, there you had it!

To kids the game is harmless, but unfortunately there are a lot of adults who still make this “bet” when it comes to biblical issues such as salvation by faith alone, whether or not the 10 Commandments (and other aspects of Moses’ Law) are still in effect, women’s roles in public worship, and the sinfulness of unholy sexual behavior. Such issues are advocated on the basis of having biblical support. And how do the advocates get away with it? The same way a kid can still count to 100 in 5 seconds!

When it comes to studying biblical issues, it’s in everyone’s best interest to study verses in their context – the verse, and even the chapter, before and after can change what words mean. This also includes keeping in mind what God’s apostles and prophets taught the church in the other letters that make up the Bible.

So when something that someone teaches doesn’t sound right, demand a recount; because more often than not, you’ll find a few number of verses that have gotten skipped in between their introduction and their conclusion.

#bible-study, #hermeneutics, #spiritual-examples

Thoughts on a Curious Passage

There is a very curious passage in two of the Gospels. It’s hard to initially see any point in them. Yet all of Scripture has a place and a purpose, so we have to study and find it.

When faced with a tough passage, you study what others have said and you are somewhat relieved when none of them know either. There are verses that are just perplexing. But we persevere, nonetheless. Continue reading

#hermeneutics, #interpretation

Sound principles for interpreting Scripture (Doug Kashorek)

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” 2 John 9.

On this second 5th Sunday of 2013, we’ll look at sound principles for interpreting Scripture, understanding the difference between expedience and innovation, and discovering if biblical silence is permissive. All of this has the aim of restoring New Testament Christianity.

For example, in Genesis 6:14 God says, “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood ….” Since God said it, are you doing it? Or does context and who God was commanding to do this important?

Too easy … what about what does command, example, and inference have to say about the Lord’s Supper in Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread …”? What trouble we get into when we start doing what we want based on “Well, the Bible doesn’t say we can’t ….” It’s like parents going away overnight and their teens saying, “Mom and Dad didn’t say we couldn’t ….”

Are you running the race or running ahead?

Doug Kashorek

Plattsburgh church of Christ

author of Kin of Cain

a Christian historical fantasy


Hugh Fulford: Interpreting the Scriptures

On March 22 I sent forth an essay titled “Another Look at CENI (Commands, Examples, and Necessary Inferences).” I observed that in my judgment “commands” does not adequately describe what is actually intended by the term—that a better way of expressing the matter is to say that in the Scriptures we have various kinds of “statements” (including commands) that are intended to communicate God’s will to us.

My own preference for expressing what is often referred to as commands, examples, and necessary inference is to say that Scripture uses statements, examples, and implications to communicate God’s will to us.

None of these, however, constitutes a hermeneutic (a method of interpretation); instead, the statements, examples, and implications of Scripture require the use of sensible, valid principles of interpretation to correctly understand and properly apply them.

Since the Bible is a revelation from God communicated through various divinely inspired writers (II Timothy 3:16-17), the only truly valid and beneficial system of interpretation is that one which enables us to determine from the statements, examples, and implications of Scripture those things we must do to be well-pleasing to God.

Alexander Campbell, one of the leading lights in the effort to restore original New Testament Christianity, in writing about how to understand the biblical teaching regarding the Holy Spirit, said:

“Our province is to understand and teach the meaning of the words and sentences, which the  inspired writers have used on this subject, judging that when these are fairly and fully, that is, grammatically and logically understood, we are in possession of the ideas which God designed to communicate to us” (The Millennial Harbinger, 1834, pages 508-509, underlining mine, hf).

What Campbell said with reference to understanding what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit is equally true with reference to understanding what the Bible teaches about any matter, including how one is saved from sin, how one is to worship, and how one is to live so as to please the Lord. When the words and sentences of Scripture are grammatically and logically understood we may know that we have correctly interpreted God’s word.

It is beneficial in studying the Scriptures to recognize that they are comprised of various genres of literature. In the Bible we find law, history, poetry, prophecy, biography, and letters. Through these various kinds of literature God has communicated His message to us.

In studying the Bible it is essential that the reader keep in mind the context of any given passage. Certain questions should be asked:

  1. Who is speaking? (The devil, fools, and others who are not to be believed speak some things recorded in Scripture.)
  2. To whom is he speaking? (Was the message to a limited audience, or was it intended for “every creature” in “all nations”?)
  3. Of what is he speaking? (A temporary, cultural situation, or an abiding truth, doctrine, and practice?)
  4. When was the thing spoken? (The age when God’s plan of redemption through Christ was still a mystery, or the age when God’s plan had been fully manifested [Romans 16:25-27]; “time past” or “these last days” [Hebrews 1:1-2]? This is one of the most important “keys” to properly understanding God’s will for us in the Christian era.)
  5. Why was the thing spoken?  (To answer a question, such as in Acts 2:37-38; to provide a regulation, such as in I Corinthians 11:23-34?)
  6. What else does the Bible say on this subject? (We must take into consideration all that the Bible says on a matter to know the full truth on that subject.)

The Bible is a revelation from God. As such it was intended by God to be read and understood by all. From a practical standpoint most of the principles to be used for reading and understanding the Bible are the same as those we use for reading any other document—a book, this morning’s newspaper, and even this essay.

Hugh Fulford
May 17, 2011
hugh’s news & Views

#biblical-interpretation, #ceni, #hermeneutics

Eliminate both?

Just as some try to negate “baptism” because it is not mentioned in a verse, and exult a convoluted notion of “faith” because it is, I wonder how some will apply John 15:3. Perhaps they will eliminate both!

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (ESV).


Hugh Fulford: Another Look at CENI – commands, examples, and necessary inferences

It has often been pointed out that God communicates in Scripture through commands, examples, and necessary inferences. This tripartite formula has been reduced to an acronym — CENI. By many in churches of Christ it has been viewed as a hermeneutic (a way of interpreting the Scriptures). While there is hermeneutical value to be derived from recognizing commands, examples, and implications from which we draw certain necessary inferences, it is my contention that CENI are not themselves a hermeneutic, but ways, means, or avenues by which God has set forth His will in Scripture and to which a valid hermeneutic must be applied. Continue reading

#bible, #biblical-interpretation, #ceni, #hermeneutics

Hermeneutical gymnastics

I’ve just received in the mail Louis Rushmore’s book, No Hermeutical Gymnastics, Please! The Essentiality of Correct Biblical Interpretation (Winona, MS: J.C. Choate/Louis Rushmore Publications, 2009). Just so happens that on the back cover three of the five recommendations are by Fellows: Phil Sanders, Mark McWhorter and me. I wrote of the book:

The author deals with important topics like the New Testament as the Christian authority, the expression of that authority and the nature of the gospel. Application of the truths in this book will go far to keep the faithful in the Way of Christ.

There are 59 pages of text in the paperback. It provides a good overview of the dangers out there today by progressives and change agents and reviews the biblical nature of authority.

I like what he says here:

The impotence of a defective hermeneutic can be seen by to what it not only reduces divinely given, biblical instruction, but by what it does to the vehicle of communication in general. For instance, the assertion that Bible authority relates only to commands or direct statements is false because it erroneously supposes that approved examples and implications from which one must make inferences are not part of human communication (p. 31).

Ask Louis about purchases.

UPDATE: Louis says the book goes for $6.

#biblical-interpretation, #books, #hermeneutics