Karpophoreo & David Tinson
Understanding is Foundational
The ‘parable of parables’ is that of the Sower (Matt 13:3-23; Mark 4:3-20; Luke 8:5-15). As well as being one of the most well known delivered by Jesus, it is in a very real sense the key to all His parables. Mark the Evangelist includes a small detail omitted from both Matthew and Luke’s accounts; ‘And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”’ (Mark 4:13 ESV). This parable contains the key to a very important principle in the scriptures; that of understanding.
Rare in the delivery of the parables, Jesus illuminates its meaning for them – He gives them understanding. Should they pay attention they will bear fruit later with further understanding of His subsequent teaching. Within the parable of the Sower itself, the aim of the teaching is that the audience would ‘bear fruit,’ or ‘produce a crop’ (Matt 13:23; Mark 4:20; Luke 8:15); fruit that is thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown by the Sower.
The Greek word karpophoreó (καρποφορέω), pronounced kar-pof-or-eh’-o, is used here. It means to bring forth, or to bear, fruit. We all have a choice in this life – Romans 7:4-5 tells us that we can karpophoreo ‘to death’, or we can karpophoreo ‘to God’. The wise person will want to bring forth fruit to God.
The aim of interpretation is good understanding, and the goal of good understanding is to bear good fruit – hence the name Karpophoreo.
During His ministry, Jesus confronted many problems and enemies. Chief among them were the religious leaders of the day. He chastised them because they had ‘taken away the key of knowledge… and… hindered those who were entering’ (Luke 11:52 ESV). They were supposed to give the keys to knowledge to the ordinary people. This meant teaching them how to interpret God’s Word, so resulting in them possessing both knowledge and understanding. Yet they kept the interpretational keys to themselves, leaving God’s people in the dark. In contrast, Jesus gave the keys to those who would listen, and He instructed His disciples to do the same.
There are many in our churches who want to know and understand more about God and His ways, yet are in effect being fed baby milk. The interpretational keys have been withheld from them. The purpose of Karpophoreo is to offer some of those keys, and to provide a platform to promote the improved understanding of Scripture regardless of background, confidence, or previous level of knowledge. Many simply do not know where to start, or believe the door to understanding must for some reason always remain shut.
In the world of computing, good output depends on good input; the same is true in the world of biblical interpretation. To this end we will explore issues surrounding how we approach the whole concept of interpretation – in other words, good input. To extend the horticultural analogy of bearing fruit, issues that need addressing before we interpret could be likened to preparing the soil.
Upon this foundation we will offer practical examples of exegetical interpretation and theological reflection. The aim is good output – tending the garden.
Finally we will explore interpretation lived out practically in the real world. The hope is that good fruit will then result, but we will not shy away from highlighting bad fruit when it is appropriate. This is where we harvest the fruit.
My name is David Tinson, the founder of Karpophoreo. Our goal is to equip people to become more aware interpreters. As followers of Christ we all need to grow in our understanding of Scripture. However, interpretation does not stop there. In the same way, the ability to rightly interpret (or not!) is also key to our personal relationships.
Good interpretation leads to the entrance of His light. The hoped for result is that we will put His kingdom first, live more Christ-centred lives, and bear good fruit For Him. We are grateful that with the Lord’s help this is being achieved through this ministry.
One of my favourite quotations is, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” by George R. R. Martin. Being an avid reader, I have many times experienced the truth of Martin’s line. As a learner by nature, reading has opened the door to an exciting journey of experiencing previously unknown lives, new worlds and expanded horizons. This is especially the case in the worlds of hermeneutics (the art of biblical interpretation) and theology, two of the areas I have had the privilege of studying academically for a number of years. It is my desire to not only learn from wonderful scholars, but to then pass on what I have learned to others.
There is no higher or more satisfying knowledge in life than knowing Christ. Karpophoreo is primarily dedicated to furthering the knowledge of Him. Occasionally we may be joined by fellow interpreters writing articles about their own hermeneutical adventures. The Bible is a literary treasure trove consisting of the most fascinating, compelling collection of writings known to mankind; the very words of life itself. You are most welcome to join me on the adventure.
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