Step 2: Measure the width of the river to cross. Step 2 of the interpretive journey is discovering the differences between the biblical (original) audience and us today. We are separated from the biblical audiences (whether OT or NT) in time, culture, language, situation, etc. These differences create a divide, a river as it were, that prohibits us from making a direct move from the original context to our context. Consequently, step 2 is an essential process in which you will discover the significant differences between our situation and that of the biblical audience (Duvall and Hays, 16). You will also identify the unique aspects of the situation that is depicted in the biblical passage. You will write, in 50–75 words, a description of the differences that define the width of the river you need to cross.
Just think—we expect athletes to practice constantly and use everything in their abilities and situations in order to achieve success. Yet, somehow many students are convinced that one day’s worth of studying, no sleep, and some well-placed compliments (“Gee, Dr. So-and-so, I really enjoyed your last lecture”) are good preparation for a test. Essay exams are like any other testing situation in life: you’ll do best if you are prepared for what is expected of you, have practiced doing it before, and have arrived in the best shape to do it.
You may not want to believe this, but it’s true: a good night’s sleep and a relaxed mind and body can do as much or more for you as any last-minute cram session. Colleges abound with tales of woe about students who slept through exams because they stayed up all night, wrote an essay on the wrong topic, forgot everything they studied, or freaked out in the exam and hyperventilated. If you are rested, breathing normally, and have brought along some healthy, energy-boosting snacks that you can eat or drink quietly, you are in a much better position to do a good job on the test. You aren’t going to write a good essay on something you figured out at 4 . that morning. If you prepare yourself well throughout the semester, you don’t risk your whole grade on an overloaded, undernourished brain.