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Reading the Bible as Literature

GENERAL DIRECTIONS: Use the three principles of literary interpretation to come up with a “full” reading of a Biblical passage.

SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS: 1. As a group, agree on which text i.e. passage each of the members is going to read. 2. Individually, research about your passage. Make sure that your sources are valid and legitimate. 3. After gathering enough data, discuss among yourselves the passage you have chosen. Agree on the genre of the text. Cite evidences to support your claim (genre). Then articulate the Author Meaning and Text Meaning of the passage. When you do these, make sure that you employ the big ideas of the three principles on literary interpretation. 4. When your group is done, work individually for the Personal Meaning of the text. Elaborate on it i.e. articulate your context so that any reader would clearly understand your “reading.” 5. Complete the table on the next page. 6. When you are done, upload your worksheet to Scribd, and embed it to your PLW.


The Potter’s Vessel
JEREMIAH 18, 1-12

Promises of Redemption & Restoration
ISAIAH 43, 1-11

The Visit of the Magi
MATTHEW 2, 1-12

The Healing of a Deaf Man
MARK 7, 31-37

The Parable of the Lost Son
LUKE 15, 11-32

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Thomas Co, Kashmir Roger Yap, Aaron Martin, Wilrich Lim, Miguel Legarda, Aldrin Tiu


August 5, 2013

Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 5: 11-32)
LITERARY GENRE Parable The passage is clearly a parable as it teaches a moral or life lesson using storytelling and people. The basic mechanics of this kind of genre is very similar to that of a fable, but the difference is that fables use animals, and parables use people. AUTHOR MEANING During the author’s time and in the present, there may have been sons much like the prodigal son as depicted in the parable. Sons who, in their haste, lost their wealth, and their way. Through a life of indulgence, they get plunged into a life of hardship and sorrow. They finally understand the good circumstances that they were in before, having a good childhood, food on the table, and a bed to rest their head. The author also put great care into the text to make it relatable and symbolical in nature. One of these is the possible interpretation that God if the Father depicted in the story, who told his older son that they must rejoice, for the “one who was lost, has now been found.” The author also made sure not to put any references that might be offensive to God, as the parable may not have been considered canonical if it is so. TEXT MEANING The text meaning is self-contained. This means that the story itself is about a father still loving his son no matter what. No matter what the son did, he is still welcomed in his father’s house. One thing to note here is that the older brother, who was obedient to his father’s wishes, was angry that the father still welcomed the lost son. It means that people are confused as to why someone will still accept a person who sinned his entire life.


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The prodigal or lost son of the parable represents humanity who, in disobedience or even rejection of God’s love and presence, leaves Heaven, His eternal kingdom. Of course, with the infinite love of God and by the virtue of the free will He gave as He breathed life into us, He let us, humanity, go. It is our will if we openly reject Him, and God will not challenge or undo what our will is. After seeing the pain and suffering that goes with not having God in life, humanity comes back in repentance, asking for redemption, a request which God immediately grants. Now the other son who has always remained with the father in the parable shows dissatisfaction with the father forgiving the lost son. The father replies, explaining simply that his lost son is now found, and this gives him great happiness, an event worthy of a feast. Those already saved by God, while not exactly showing discontent, are represented by this other son. An issue of why God, as represented by the father, seems to care more for the lost than those already in His presence can be found if read wrongly. A deeper understanding of the point made by the parable is revealed if one puts themselves in the shoes of fathers, or parents in general. If you have two children, one who is living comfortably in the premises of your home, and the other, out there lost somewhere in the storm, you would be concerned more for the lost son than the son already with you. Although God, as our Father and creator, is comforted already by the presence of those children already in His Kingdom or the children who are saved, God remains anxious, scared, and deeply concerned for those children who are still lost, the way a father with two sons cannot sleep with the idea that one of his children is gone, out there, cold and wet in the harsh rain.

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