I was delighted when Dr. Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, was willing to endorse my book Knowable Word with the following kind words:
Here is an excellent practical guide to interpreting the Bible. Krol has thought through, tested, and illustrated in a clear, accessible way basic steps in interpreting the Bible, and made everything available in a way that will encourage ordinary people to deepen their own study.
I’m equally delighted to see that he believes enough in the OIA method of Bible study to write about it himself. From Crossway’s blog:
In the simplest form, we sit down and read the Bible with a focus on the fact that God is present and speaks to us through what we read. We consider a three-step approach to studying the Bible. The three steps are observation, elucidation, and application.
Observation answers the question, “What does the text say?” Elucidation answers the question, “What does it mean?” Application answers the question, “What does it mean to me?”
Of course, you’ll see Poythress uses the term “elucidation” instead of “interpretation,” but he clearly means the same thing.
Poythress illustrates the method with a brief discussion of 1 Samuel 22 before concluding with the value of these three steps:
Breaking the study of the Bible into three steps, rather than seeing it as all one process of interaction, has an advantage. We all have weaknesses and biases in how we look at Scripture. The three steps help people not to overlook one or more aspects of interpretation as they hurry to get to their favorite part.
One person loves application, and tends to leap into it without taking time to think through what the passage is really saying. Another person avoids application, and tends to think and think and think without ever acting on the message. By contrast, James tells us that we should make sure that we act on what we hear: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22; see also vv. 23–27). Still another person reads and reads, without asking himself about what it means or how it applies. He remains largely on the level of observation.
The division into three steps encourages people to look at the passage in several ways, and not to neglect aspects that they tend to minimize.
Poythress gives evidence of what I’ve written before: “The OIA method has many benefits. It teaches us to hear the text and respond to it. It trains us in critical thinking and clear communication. It interests post docs, preschoolers, and everyone in between. It can be learned in five minutes and perfected over a lifetime.”
Poythress’s full article is worth a few minutes of your time. Check it out!