Biblical Interpretation Essay

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Biblical Interpretation In religious doctrine, formalism is a process of shifting concepts away from abstract or spiritual principles toward specific objects, structures, dress, languages or diets. It has often been challenged, as to if these ideas are supporting theological beliefs and principles in Christianity. To see their different interpretations requires carefully examining the examples from Jacob, Esau, Laban and the Gibeonites. These elements will illustrate how they are applied and if these concepts are considered to be an acceptable part of divine practices. (Holy Bible New International Version, 2007)

Jacob and Esau

In the case of Jacob and Esau, formalism appears in the form of a birthright. This occurs when Esau believes that he is entitled to be the carrier of Abraham's (i.e. God's) ideas. The problem is that Esau is immoral and will often make up his own interpretations. They are based upon what he wants and the different sins he goes through. The result is that he is rejected from breaking biblical laws and is engaging in actions. That is knowingly challenging established theological doctrine. (Holy Bible New International Version, 2007)

Jacob was Esau younger brother. He did not have any kind of birthright and...


In this situation, he did not associate religious thinking to specific personal philosophy. Instead, he was concerned about following God's practices as they were written. This meant that Jacob was considered to be more wholesome by not utilizing formalism to influence his thoughts. Evidence of this can be seen in Genesis 25:23 -- 34 which says, "The Lord said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.' When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, 'Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!' (That is why he was also called…

Sources Used in Documents:


Holy Bible New International Version. (2007). Lebanon, TN: The Gideon's.

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