92: What’s the Difference Between Prescriptive and Descriptive Bible Passages?

 In Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, Podcasts, Scripture, Theological Vocabulary, Theology Proper

In this episode Kenny explains the difference between prescriptive forms of writing in the Bible and descriptive forms of writing in the Bible. When we misunderstand the style of writing we run the risk of misunderstanding the character and nature of God.

Descriptive passages describe what happened; they give us the historical narratives and the stories of the events that took place. Prescriptive passages give us clear commands and instructions as to how we are to live our lives.

Kenny explains how we can diagnosis whether a passage is prescriptive or descriptive by reading through whole passages and whole books of the Bible over time. Kenny also asserts that we should primarily build our doctrine on prescriptive passages and then supplement that doctrine with the overall themes and trends and patterns that we learn from descriptive Biblical passages. We should avoid building our doctrine on individual descriptive passages that describe individual events.

Recommended Resources:

Exegetical Fallacies (by D.A. Carson)