Exegetical Fallacies: Common Interpretative Mistakes Every Student Must Avoid

William Barrick | May 21, 2010

Students of the Bible often make mistakes that can be avoided if they are aware of errors that others have committed. One of the errors is the “Evidential Fallacy” which fails to approach the text with the presumption that it is accurate. Another mistake is the “Superior Knowledge Fallacy” which occurs when one, in approaching difficult texts, practices textual emendation to accommodate the critic’s ignorance. A third mistake is the “Word Study Fallacy” which uses imaginative extrapolations to find unjustified meanings in individual words. The “Fallacy of Reading Between the Lines” reads into the Scriptures what one thinks the text implies. Another mistake occurs in improper explanations of the two tenses of Hebrew verbs, the perfect (or qatal) and the imperfect (or yiqtol). Occasionally in the NT, the “Fallacy of Ignoring Particles” causes an interpreter to miss emphasis that is conveyed by Greek particles. Sometimes a translation leaves out words found in the original language causing the “Fallacy of Reduction.” Correct interpretation results from close attention to details of the text in avoiding the mistakes mentioned above, as well as others.

Vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring 2008)

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Barrick, William. "Exegetical Fallacies: Common Interpretative Mistakes Every Student Must Avoid." The Master's Seminary Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 15-27.