God chose to use human authors to deliver His Word to us. Scripture is God’s Word written by men. We can say that Galatians is the Word of God and in the same breath refer to it as a letter written by Paul to the churches of Galatia. (Sometimes even Paul used an amanuensis or a scribe to whom he would dictate his words, as in Romans 16:2.)
This requires an expositor of Scripture to consider these issues:
(1) Literary style: we must Identify the type of literature in the text. There are three primary forms or genres: discourse, narrative, and poetry. Many books of the Bible employ combinations of these. Each type requires a different method of exposition.
(2) Historical context: we must discover the historical/cultural context of the passage.
(3) Word meanings: we must determine the meaning of individual words in the text
(4) Morphology: we must understand the word meanings in their different forms. For example, the “run” or some form of it mean different things in the following sentence: he scored the winning run; will you run me to the store?; my baby has a runny nose.
(5) Syntax: we must discover the relationship of the words with each other. Determining the proper order of the words in the sentence of a biblical text is crucial. For instance, think about this sentence: the man hit the ball hard. There are many other ways this sentence could be constructed and each one gives a different meaning:
- The man hit the hard ball.
- The ball hit the man hard.
- The ball hit the hard man.
- The hard man hit the ball.
- The hard ball hit the man.
(6) Context: we must analyze the words in their immediate and broader contexts. As I study a word in the text, I have to inquire about how it fits in the framework of the Bible as a whole, in its particular Testament, in the book in which it found, in the paragraph, and in its sentence. Each of these builds on the other.
All of this is a part of taking Scripture seriously, as the Word of God written by human authors.