In a previous post I talk about some very important techniques when one is trying to exegesis Scripture. One of the most important tools at our disposal is something that is often overlooked. It is so important I want it to have its own post. It is the distinction between prescription and description.
Description, means describing something like story telling, describing occurrences and God’s promises for specific person(s). In other words it is not talking to us but rather describing what happened. Compare this to prescription. Prescription is when one give you direction. Think about this way, when you go to the doctor the doctor prescribes medication, exercises, diet, or many other things. She is telling you to do something.
Now let’s look at the practical real life application of this. When Jesus talks about loving your neighbor as yourself, this is a prescription. Its a command, direction, instruction, he is telling us to do something. Same goes when it tells us not to lie and live a holy life.
Compare this to David killing Goliath. The Bible never says that we need to go out and kill Giants. It just describes the situation that was happening at that time. There is a story in Judges of a man named Jephthah who was on his way home after winning at battle. He promised God that the first thing to come from his house he would sacrifice. When he arrived, his daughter was the first to come forth. Now there are a number of interpretations of what happened next, did he really offer her upon an altar or not? No one knows for sure. However, the point is that this account is descriptive, these actions were never commanded or even encouraged for us to do the same.
In conclusion I want to stress the difference between prescription vs description. One is an aught claim. The other is a story. As we seed in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 15, these stories are there for our learning.
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