teaching Separation-Placement-Rest (SPR) as a new method of biblical interpretation that encourage peace in Colombia using the book of Micah



Héctor Hernán Molano Cortés




Presented to


LeAnn Flesher, PhD.








Berkeley, California

September, 2016






Introduction 3

Peace and education: Main Issues in the Bible 3

Peace in the Bible 3

Peace a concept from the Beginning to the End 7

Teaching in the Bible 9

Exegetical Approach to Micah 4:1-5 13

Micah, a Prophet of the Golden Age of the Prophetic Times 13

Who was Micah? 15

Bible Text to Study 15

Interpretive Approach Using SPR and Semantics of Words 16

Mic 4:1 Separation Plus Placement 16

Mic 4:2 Separation Plus Placement 17

Mic 4:3 Separation 18

Mic 4:4 Rest 19

Mic 4:5 No Separation Plus Separation 20

Conclusions 21

Bibliography 22







The Bible is considered the first place to do theology, all ideas and thoughts for proper Christian argument must be derived from there. It is precisely this idea which takes precedence in this writing, because I want to show the basis for the development of the dissertation which I intend to present as a requirement to obtain the title of Doctor of Ministry. The title that is intends to put in that paper will be: “Teaching Separation-Placement-Rest (SPR) as a New Method of Biblical Interpretation that Encourages Peace in Colombia Using the Book of Micah”. In this way, in this paper and I will firstly present the major ideas concerning two themes in particular: the peace and the teaching. I will also include my reasons on why these ideas are central in the biblical text. Secondly, I will present an exegetical approach to a passage from the book of Micah, a passage that is very relevant to the presentation of my proposal. Lastly, I will present brief conclusions that summarize my argued points.


Peace and Education: Main Issues in the Bible

In my D.Min dissertation, I will be addressing two important themes. The first is peace, a concept which can be reinforced by the way of approaching biblical texts. The other theme is teaching, which is the fundamental point in the development of this dissertation, because the aim is to teach a new methodology to pastors and church leaders with the goal that they implement in their ministries. Therefore, this section seeks to show why these topics are relevant and of outstanding importance in the study of the biblical text.

Peace in the Bible

In the first part of this study, I will concentrate on the study of the Hebrew and Greek words that are typically translated as peace. In the Old Testament, the word commonly used to carry this idea of peace is shalom, which according to Jenny and Westermann, not only has the sense of peace and kindness, but that includes welfare, prosperity and fortune.

The first time that the word shalom appears in the text of the Old Testament, is Genesis in chapter fifteenth and verse fifteen: “You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.” These words were spoken by God to Abram, and from verses thirteen to sixteen have been seen by some as an insert to show despite the iniquity of the Amorites salvation. In any case, the idea that transmits the text is that living in peace is a state of rest.

With 267 cases in the biblical text, the following graph shows the distribution of shalom by percentage (verses in the book with hit / verses in the book) in the books of the Old Testament:








Graphic 1: Distribution of the word shalom in the Old Testament


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The leading book is Obadiah; the reason is because it has only 21 verses. The first verse that include this search is 1:7 “All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him.” (KJV) showing us that at its time the people of Edom enjoyed peace with other peoples.

The last verse with the term shalom in the Old Testament is Malachi 2:6 “True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin”, is a quotation concerning the Levitical priesthood who were to convey love, peace and life.

The Septuagint translates the word shalom in 23 different words, predominantly with 178 hits is eirene, the term which is taken up by the authors of the New Testament.

According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, the word eirene is not simply something that happens in relationships between people, but a state; it could also involve the idea the resting state, which means in essence, tranquility, serenity. With this idea, peace is much more than simply believing that it is a solution of conflicts between opposing forces or between people, it must also include that is necessary in order that rest is achieved.

The first time that the text of the New Testament presents eirene is in Matthew, Chapter 10 verse 13: “If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you”. This text appears among the instructions Jesus gives to his group of twelve to carry his message, and peace seems to refer to the Gospel itself. This is corroborated by the next verse: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave home or town”. It is possible to see a synonymic parallelism between “your words” and “your peace”.

The word eirene appears 92 times in New Testament. The following graphic can observe the distribution in this part of the biblical text by percentage (verses in the book with to hit / verses in the book):







Graphic 2: Distribution of the word eirene in the New Testament


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It is important mentioning that the word eirene appears united to Jesus, because He can be considered as the expected “Prince of peace” prophesied by Isaiah (cf. Is 9:6). For example, the text of John 14:27 says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus indicates that his peace is with us and that it is very different to the conception of peace we can extract of the world. Does this mean that His peace is different in a way that is more about a state of being in peace rather than absence of conflict? This seems to be so when passages such as John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1.2. Peace a Concept from the Beginning to the End

It has been suggested that, in both the Old and in the New Testament, the concept of peace goes far beyond the relationship between human beings; in fact, seeing peace as opposed to wars is a secondary aspect, because peace is a state of being. Since this definition of peace is the ideal state in our creation and disorder, war and the problems are a categorical part which we experience.

When God created the world, He said that it was “very” good. Gen 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day”. This event could be well considered the summon bonum, a demonstration of the maximum goodness of God, and thus crowned with a day of rest. The Hebrew expression for “very good” is “tob meod”. Meod is the superlative in the Hebrew language, and the word tob belongs to the lexical field of shalom. Interestingly, the beginning of the creation is marked by a state of peace, perfect shalom enjoyed by God on a day of rest, without activities and living in peace.

On the other hand, the peace eirene in the New Testament also has an eschatological sense of salvation. Revelation 19:1 says: “After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God”. According to Kittel, this salvation soteria is the same eirene in the book of Revelation. The state of peace salvation - is portrayed as the creation filled with figurative descriptions of joy, satisfaction and relaxation. Thus, Revelation 21:4 testifies, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The state of peace, as it has been argued, that it initiates the creation and it will be given in the eschatological future. Peace is, therefore, one of the most important issues in the entire frame of the biblical text.

Teaching in the Bible

According to Baker Gilderstone there are twelve Hebrew words that carry the idea of education, and although this author does not mention the word tsoh (command, give orders), it is worth mentioning, because it appears very early in the Scriptures; such as, Genesis 2:16, where God gave an order: “And the LORD God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.” This verb has the semantic field of an instruction or teaching; thus, it is linked from the creation of humankind.

There are different Hebrew words that is translate as “teaching” in English, but lamad is the term used most frequently; this word is the base for the word Talmud. The verb lamad is very interesting, because it can be translated as “teach” or “learn” depending on the Hebrew state of the verb. This may at the least show that these actions are linked. The TWOT in Hebrew used the same verb because both are based on the fear of God.

The first hit of this verb in the Old Testament occurs in Deuteronomy 4:1: “Hear now, O Israel, the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you”. Moses urges the people of Israel to learn what God had told them to do. The typical teaching in the book of Deuteronomy is essential for living. The following graph shows the distribution of this word by number of times used per book in the Old Testament:

Graphic 3. Distribution of lamad in the Old Testament


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Among the 87 appearances of this word, it is important to highlight that the first two books on the list, Psalms and Deuteronomy, are key texts to understand the word best. In Deuteronomy, the word is used in a way to express the prominence of learning the regulations ordered by God. Meanwhile, in the Psalms, along with another text in the Wisdom Literature, it is used to express the necessity to achieve right insight. Learning, therefore, is achieved from the outside as well as from the inside through guidance and reflection.

The Septuagint translates this verb with four different words: didasko (54 times), manthano (23 times), deiknumi (3 times), and miaino (2 times). New Testament authors take the verb didasko to teach, as the more relevant, and to learn manthano.

Didasko is used 97 times in the New Testament; the following graph shows how it is distributed in the New Testament:


Graphic 4. Distribution of didasko in the New Testament


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One can observe that this verb is used 55 times in the Gospels, beginning with Matthew's Gospel. Matt 4:23 - "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” This verse is extremely important, because it shows Jesus as the master par excellence, the didaskalos. In fact, it is one of the favorite public functions of Jesus; people called him didaskale (rabbi) or teacher. According to Kittel, his teaching appeals to the will and calls to make practical decisions that conform to the will of God.

Within the believer´s labor, teaching must be considered and is a clear commandment in Matt 28:20. As one example of this missionary labor, Paul traveled to many places teaching the Gospel, and in his letters, he informs us that sharing the Gospel is an instruction of the Church. Paul was considered a didaskalos to the gentiles, someone who teaches to those people outside from the Jewish people.

The verb manthano is translated as "learning" among the 25 times it is used in the New Testament. The graph below shows its usage distribution in the New Testament:

Graphic 5. Distribution of manthano in the New Testament


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Once again, Matthew's Gospel shows its first occurrence of the word. Matt 9:13 reads: “but go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”. Pupils should learn and receive practical training of what it means to be merciful, and the task of learning of the learner is shaped by Jesus, who also learned Himself (cf. Heb 5:8) . It can be said that in Jesus we find the perfect master (cf. Matt 19:16) and the perfect apprentice (cf. Matt 11:29). In the last book of the Bible the word manthano is found in Revelation 14:3- “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.” In the act of worship, the 144,000 are able to sing something that was only known by them who were elected; thus, by direct deduction, it can be said that those 144,000 had learned it at some point in their loves while others were not able to learn it.

In conclusion, it can be said that the learning-teaching is linked to the biblical framework as a central theme. From Genesis, God instructed us; He continued to do so through Christ in the New Testament; and, in the book of Revelation, there is an instruction to those who will be able to sing in front of his throne by the people that had been taught how to sing it.


Exegetical Approach to Micah 4:1-5

Before I provide my own exegetical approach to the text of Micah 4:1-5, I want to present the reasons by which, not only this passage in particular, but all the book of Micah was the chosen to teach peace with the model Separation-Placement-Rest (SPR).

Micah, a Prophet of the Golden Age of the Prophetic Times

According to Dr. Cho approximation, the SPR method can be applied throughout the whole biblical text, and this may be the first reason behind the selection of this book in the Bible. All biblical text has the possibility of be interpreted with different methodologies and its meaning is not exhausted with any method in particular, so SPR, as one of them, helps to enrich the biblical study with the advantage that this method is extracted of the Bible itself.

On the other hand, Micah is one of the prophets from eighth century before Christ, the time considered to be the golden age of prophecy. Along with Hosea, Amos and Isaiah, they were able to report and go against the established structures. According to Sicre there were three major problems in this century:

In the social area: there is an oppressed class, the poor. The upper social classes had been enriched by an abundance of time.

In the religious area: in addition to the worship to other gods such as Baal, there was also a lack of worship to the true God.

In the political area: the Assyrian Empire led by Tiglath-Pileser and his successors try to control the region.

The problematic issues of that time are not strange even when compared with our current setting since the group that controls all the world is only the one percent of the population of the world. The neglect to search the unique God had resulted with deep polytheism, and therefore, finally there is a new world order controlled by super-powers nations or people who have the control.

One more reason to choose the book of Micah is the mention of the shalom in the biblical text, as it was demonstrated in the previous graph #1, Micah is the third book that proportionally cited peace more frequently, only preceded by Obadiah and Malachi.

Who was Micah?

The name Micah is a contraction of Micaiah which means “who is like YHWH”. According to what the book that bears his name tells us, he is from Moresheth, a town of Judah, and the description at the beginning of the book tells us that He was active during the reign of Jotham (742-735), Ahaz (735-715) and Hezekiah (715-687). Micah grew up in the region of the Shephelah, fertile and rural areas which allowed him to experience what it was like to deal with leaders who would like to remove him and his nationals from their own ground (Mic 2:2).

Bible text to study

In order to keep the biblical text in mind, I will transcribe Mic 4:1-5:

1 In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

3 He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

4 Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

5 All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.



This text is particularly seen by several authors such as one showing the exaltation of Zion or salvation. Specifically, Cho sees this passage as central in the arrangement that makes the entire book. Due to reasons above, this text is taken as a central in the study of the SPR method; nevertheless, the teaching of SPR will be applied to the whole book of Micah.


Interpretive approach using SPR and semantics of words

For the study of the text I will use the SPR method (acronym of the words Separation-Placement-Rest) along with some help from the study of certain words that reinforce the ideas from this methodology.

Mic 4:1 Separation Plus Placement

In this verse, one can observe two points found in the SPR model. Firstly, the separation is manifested in the establishment of a mountain above the others, for some the Mount of Zion. Placement can also be seen as a place where nations can go. In order to show the force of this argument I will explored two Hebrew words presented in verse - nakun and wenisha.

Nakun is a verb that is in nifal structure which is reflexive or passive, but in tis context, the case is passive, since it will be established by God. God is not directly named but implied because it is the mountain of the house of YHWH. The DBLH says that kun is: “authenticate something as valid and having legitimate authority, with a focus on the durability and lastingness of the situation”. The mount will be established with whole power and it will be not removed.

Wenisa is also a verb in nifal structure preceded by the conjunction waw, which translates as “be exalted” or “will be raised”. The phrase can be considered a synonymic parallel as well:

temple will be established as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills

The parallelism comes to strengthen the idea of Separation and Placement and is even more interesting since Jenni and Westermann emphasize that the most common complement to this verb is the Ark of God; that is, the presence of God in this place, on the mount.

Mic 4:2 Separation Plus Placement

This new verse comes to reinforce the ideas raised in the former that many peoples shall be addressed to this special place where God's presence is and there will be guided by the same God. Verbs leku and wenaeleh, translated as “come and ascend” reinforce the idea to withdraw from everything in order to go and search this mountain where the presence of God dwells.

Leku is an imperative verb that demands to depart, to be moved, this verb always takes the idea of movement. It is not is only a voice; it is the separation from the world to find God in the of Zion mount. Wenaeleh is composed by the conjunction and the word alah. Its translation is “to ascend” and it is also used to refer to the offerings olah, which go up before God. This coincidence is not a simple causality, because the mount, the place where the House of God dwells, will be considered a place of offerings.

Mic 4:3 Separation

The ideas of separation are clearly presented with verbs like “He will judge” weshafat and “He will settle disputes” wehukiyja. God will check who are, from among the Nations, righteous, He sits as the judge; the Nations may go to His presence with their disputes and their problems, and He will be in charge of deciding what is good and separate it from what is wrong. Battlefields will be changed by the Holy Court so that weapons will not be necessary, which then will lead the nations to change these weapons for farming tools.

The word weshafat come from of the verb shafat, which, in its primary sense, means exercise government; DBLH says the following about this verb: “... adjudicate a matter between two parties in a court or a less formal setting, implying both the authority to punish and finality of the decision.” Meanwhile the word wehukiyja come from the verb yakaj, which can also be translated as “to judge”. While shafat may be referring “to judge” in the sense of a government without the division of powers into three branches (as in Colombia), yakaj “... denotes education and discipline as a result of God's judicial actions. ‘This embraces all aspects of education from the conviction of the sinner to chastisement and punishment, from the instruction of the righteous by severe tests to his direction by teaching and admonition’”. Thus, when God separates or judges as in this case, He does not do so without showing sinners the reasons, and the righteous will be convinced to repentance.

Mic 4:4 Rest

In this verse, we can see what accomplishes the separation and the placement, a real rest. The images of sitting in their own vineyard and of their Fig tree are of tranquility, the picture that they do not have fear and there is nobody to provoke this terrible feeling. In the historical books, it is possible to see the phrase “each man under his own vine and fig tree” (1Kgs 4:25), which became a proverb that showed the conditions of tranquility enjoyed by the Israelites in the reign of Solomon; the vineyard is also a symbol of blessing and happiness.

It is very important to mention Isaiah 36:16 where this idea appears as well: “then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree.” However, on this occasion, it is Sennacherib´s Commander who presents this image as the promised land by the conquers if they surrender, but what they are really offering is war and injustice and not peace and relaxation. The image brings peace and comfort since it is offered by the true giver of peace.

I want to highlight the agricultural images that are conducive for my country, because Colombia is a country full of green scenes, agricultural centered, and with great potential of expand that economic sector, these ideas of Micah are very conducive to the Colombian people, because they can understand the rest, rest time in their own lands and in their crops.

The Rest is the condition that is expected after the tribulations, the problems and the difficulties. It is the ideal state of the Creation and also the initial state in which the humankind was created, a place full of the God´s blessings and, by most importantly, of His presence.

Mic 4:5 No Separation and Separation

This last verse of this passage can divide into two parts: “All the nations may walk in the name of their gods”. Some scholars have considered this to be referring not to an eschatological moment but to its present time where the nations went to their gods and failing to separate themselves from their sin and error, because “for them the torah of YHWH is already there.” The beginning of the verse could also be seen as an antithesis to the Israel´s separation manifested in the second part: “but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever”. This contrast shows the decision of the people to be counter-cultural and prefer the ways of God instead of the peace and rest from war as those promised by Sennacherib.









Peace is central to the biblical text; the Bible starts with an idea of peace in paradise and ends with peace in a heavenly Jerusalem, new heavens and new Earth.

Education is linked to God´s people, from the beginning; God himself teaches their mandates and then gives this task to the selected people. Among God´s people, teaching is important because it spreads what God wants and what God offers to His elect people.

The book of Micah is ideal for teaching the concepts of Separation-Placement-Rest; the Prophet mentions peace as an ideal state which can be reached only by God's labor.

The SPR methodology can be applied without difficulty towards the book of MICAH and it´s possible give peace the emphasis as being in the state of Rest.



















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