Hermeneutics: Principles of Biblical Interpretation
Hermeneutics is the art and science of biblical interpretation.
General Hermeneutics is the study of rules that govern interpretation of the entire Bible.
Special hermeneutics is the study of the interpretation of specific literary forms.
canon-determining which books bear the stamp of divine inspiration
textual criticism-ascertaining the original wording of the text
historical criticism-studying the contemporaneous circumstances surrounding the composition of a particular book
exegesis-using hermeneutics in understanding the author's original meaning
biblical theology-organizes teachings in a historical manner
systematic theology-organizes teachings in a logical order
practical theology-explores the significance and application of teachings
When obstacles such as a different culture, language, history, and/or philosophy block the spontaneous understanding of words, it is important to codify the process we normally used to understand the meaning of a communication. "Each of us sees reality though eyes conditioned by our culture and a variety of experiences."
Liberal view of inspiration: Biblical writers were inspired in the sense that Shakespeare and other great writers were inspired. They reveal primitive understandings of God's workings. We develop theories about how ancient documents were pieced together and what they reveal about man's growing awareness of God.
Neoorthodox view of inspiration: The Bible is a human understanding of the significance of God's actions. The Bible becomes the Word of God when when individuals read it and the words become meaningful. We remove the mythological packaging and have a personal encounter with the truth.
Historic view of inspiration: God worked through individual writers and their personalities, etc. to produce words that were "God breathed."
Is the question of hermeneutics what it means to me or what the author intended?
Did the intended meaning of the divine author exceed that of the human author?
How can we determine when the text is to be understood literally, figuratively, or symbolically?
Do spiritual factors affect our ability to accurately perceive the truths contained in Scripture?
Is the Scripture without error in all it says (even history, geography, and science) or only in matters of faith and practice?
Five examples of how Christ accepted the teachings of the O.T.
* He treated the historical narratives of the O.T. as straightforward records of facts.
* He based his teaching on the very stories modern critics reject.
* He appealed to the O.T. as authoritative in controversies.
* He taught nothing could pass from the law until all had been fulfilled.
* He used Scripture to rebut Satan.
* Jesus used the O.T. for illustrative puroposes only. (What about Matt 12:41?)
* Jesus accommodated his teaching to the prescienfific views of His time. (But, Jesus did not hesitate to refute other aspects of Jewish tradition that were in error.)
* Jesus emptied himself and became a product of his conditioning. ( He claimed full truth and authority for his teaching. Matt. 7:24-26; Mark 27:8:38)
* Views of Jesus in the gospels belong to the Gospel writers not to Jesus himself. (This view denies the historical reliability of the Gospels and leaves us unable to make any historical statements about the Lord Jesus Christ.)
* Since inerrancy is claimed only for the original autographs, which are gone, inerrancy is a moot question. (There is a very high degree of accuracy.)
* We should not claim freedom from errors in those arease that were only incidental to the author's primary interest. (Scriptures themselves never make this claim. This diminishes either the inspiration "God breathed" or honesty of God.)
* The only important issue is a saving Christ, not to hold to an innerrant Scripture. (If Jesus know portions to be false and taught otherwise, then he wouldn't be fit to be our saviour.)
* Some passages seem to contradict each other or science.