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The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation
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The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  294 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In this newly revised and expanded edition, Grant Osborne provides seminary students and working pastors with the full set of tools they need to move from sound exegesis to the development of biblical and systematic theologies and to the preparation of sound, biblical sermons. Osborne contends that hermeneutics is a spiral from text to context--a movement between the horiz ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by IVP Academic (first published November 1991)
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John Kight
Jan 23, 2016 John Kight rated it it was amazing
Well-established as the standard evangelical work in the field of biblical hermeneutics since first being published in 1991, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by Grant R. Osborne has been revised and expanded to meet the changing needs of the next generation. New chapters on the Old Testament law and use of the Old Testament in the New have been added, and general revisions have been undertaken throughout the volume. While the original work was wel ...more
Nathan Marone
As the title says, Osborne's book is an introduction to Biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics. The key in approaching this book is understanding that it is not designed to provide tools for devotional Bible study. It is geared toward Bible college students, seminarians, and pastors. Its end goal is to assist these people in interpreting the Bible well, in seeing it as both a historical literary library and as a living revelation of God to be proclaimed. For Osborne the Bible can be studied fo ...more
Jul 26, 2015 Barry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-misc
This is a dense book packed with pretty much all the angles relating to Biblical hermeneutics. Oddly enough, it seems like there is both too much information as well as a cursory glance at the information. Entire books are written about each section of this book, or even just segments of a section of this book, so there is a wealth of material out there if a person wants to go more in depth. This is a good introduction, though with all the technical writing it isn't the most accessible of books.
Dave Courtney
Aug 02, 2015 Dave Courtney rated it really liked it
This is a comprehensive work on the process and philosophy of Biblical Interpretation (Hermeneutics). It is written towards an early seminary level. It is however written favourably towards the common ear.

It is nicely categorized (and sub-categorized). More importantly it is complete in its ground up approach. With a passionate concern to help us see scripture (as a forming process) through the complicated process of language (grammar), culture (contextualization) and history (historical narrat
Apr 08, 2013 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: bible
This is exactly what the subtitle says. It is very comprehensive, and extremely technical. It is Evangelical and oriented to a grammatical-historical approach to Bible, as opposed to the historical-critical approach popular in liberal Protestant and Catholic seminaries. Being Evangelical, it is outside the mainstream on some points (choosing minority positions over the majority that you would find in the literature, hence 3 stars), but overall a very good introduction (if not the best on the mar ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-these
Anyone who can write scholarly material without sounding like a pompous windbag is probably amazing. ;)

Osborne takes the scariness out of Biblical Interpretation and shows you how to do it well while shedding light on the many exegetical fallacies. But he doesn't stop there––he puts it in normal words and a 'you can do it, too!' tone.

This is an undergrad/seminary read, but is accessible for anyone interested in Biblical Interpretation. If I were wanting to learn 'more' about this area, this bo
Mike E.
Apr 15, 2016 Mike E. marked it as to-read
The major difficulty in contextualizing Scripture is deciding exactly what are the cultural or time-bound elements in a passage and what are the supracultural or eternal principles. (326)
Apr 15, 2014 Marcus rated it liked it
Osborne seeks to produce a text that grammatically explores the words of Scripture. Focusing on the field of hermeneutical interpretation, he approaches theory of language, words, and communication.

At times the book seems dense and monotonous - I myself can only read about "grammar" for so many pages. I could rarely read more than 40, 50 pages in one sitting because of the density surrounding Osborne's thoughts and ideas communicated.

That being said, however, the book itself is organized, strai
Evghenii Sologubenco
Jan 16, 2015 Evghenii Sologubenco rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
In my opinion this book a complicated and in comparison to other books on the subject I read seems to complicate the matters in Biblical interpretation rather then make them easier.
Apr 06, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, phd
A very insightful book for a subject of which I am still learning.
Jul 12, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to exegesis and hermeneutics. It is deep and weighty. Not a light read. It covers everything. It answers questions raised by the New Hermeneutics. Osborne writes from an evangelical point of view. His most important consideration in exegesis is the text itself. This is an advanced book on hermeneutics. A good introductory book is Fee and Stewart's "How to Read the Bible For All It's Worth" or my "Getting the Most From the Bible." This book covers a whole range o ...more
Luke Todd
May 29, 2014 Luke Todd rated it really liked it
Not the most enjoyable read, but a very solid resource.
Mar 04, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
This is one of the best, if not the best, technical introductions to the field of hermeneutics. It is thorough and fair. My one complaint is that I feel Dr. Osborne could have shortened some of the sections, such as the one on grammar. Some of that material felt monotonous. Nonetheless, I highly recommend this book.
Oct 15, 2012 Alyssa rated it liked it
This is what it claims to be: a COMPREHENSIVE introduction to Biblical interpretation. If you haven't read several books or taken a few classes on the topic previously, it will be overwhelming. That said, he has some awesome charts that I'll be using with my students!
May 31, 2013 Cory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly informative and extremely helpful. A very tough read, felt like he was trying to lose you every page, but it was extremely comprehensive and dealt with every issue by explaining the logic behind his stance as well as his opponents logic for their position.
Mike Mullen
Apr 04, 2014 Mike Mullen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Pastors and preachers, beginning seminary students.
Recommended to Mike by: Christianity Today Magazine- Book of the Year
This is a well done survey of the hermeneutical issues facing the preacher in interpreting. It is well balanced yet conservative. The last chapters were a bit to brief in comparison with the rest of the book, yet were integrally linked to what was put forth before.
Sep 09, 2007 Karl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This is an excellent book, a literary look at the bible, from a Christian world view, in order to learn to better exegete the text and understand the actual meaning. As a professor he is amazing as well.
Brandon Harvey
Great book on the study of Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation. Grant Osborne takes you deep into the study. Be noted that this is not an introductory book on the subject.
Oct 10, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
Hermeneutics is a discipline and an art to help you see what is really in the text. This is a workout for those who do hermeuntics on a regular basis.
I read part of this, and thought it was great - there were just other books I wanted to read MORE. I'll get back to this one someday.
Aug 03, 2011 Bro rated it liked it
OK not gonna read through this one either, but what little I have read leads me to believe it is a handy reference tool.
Feb 23, 2013 Philip rated it it was amazing
The ideal approach to hermeneutics. Oh to have the time to carry it out fully on every passage that I deal with!
Jun 18, 2013 Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good, solid, work. I almost want to say it is essential to any serious Bible student.
John Hamstra
Yes, this is exactly what the title says it is... a comprehensive introduction
Jason Retherford
def. a comprehensive introduction to biblical interpretation!
Jan 02, 2013 Cynthia rated it liked it
Very informative but sometimes hard to read (lots of terminology).
Oct 25, 2008 Trisha rated it it was amazing
A must for lit majors interested in biblical theory.
James Yee
Oct 05, 2012 James Yee rated it it was amazing
A must have for seminary students.
Mayowa Adebiyi
Dec 11, 2014 Mayowa Adebiyi rated it really liked it
Comprehensive indeed !
May 17, 2012 Tom added it
...what a book!
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  • Exegetical Fallacies
  • Interpreting the Pauline Epistles
  • New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors
  • Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning
  • Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament
  • Is There a Meaning in This Text?
  • Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation
  • Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation
  • The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption & Restoration
  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament & Other Early Christian Literature
  • Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: Revised and Expanded
  • Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contempoary Biblical Scholarship
  • Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar
  • New Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Exploring the Unity Diversity of Scripture
  • Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics
  • Jesus and the Gospels
  • Created in God's Image
  • An Introduction to the Old Testament

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“Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Mt 5:17). Yet Paul could say, “Christ is the end of the law” (Rom 10:4); “you also died to the law through the body of Christ” (Rom 7:4); and “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (Gal 3:25). Hebrews states, “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Heb 8:13), and “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming” (Heb 10:1). The Matthew text is the key one, for Jesus is asserting that the Torah has not been abrogated and in fact is intact in him.” 0 likes
“They have been fulfilled in Christ, so we must determine their theological purposes and apply them to current situations. We need holiness and a proper relationship with God just as they did, and the legal regulations properly understood can help us center on those critical areas of the Christian life.” 0 likes
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