Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some Basic Hermeneutical Reminders

1. Remember the one, central story: the whole Bible is about just one thing. The pattern of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.

2. Remember that the Bible is its own best commentary. The Word interprets itself; Scripture explains Scripture.

3. Remember to read individual passages in their context—textual, literary, symbolic, historical, cultural, grammatical, and theological.

4. Remember that all Biblical revelation is intended to reveal. Always look for the most obvious literary sense of a text.

5. Remember that all Scripture is inspired and superintended by the Holy Spirit. So, every little detail matters.

6. Remember that Scripture has only one meaning but multiple applications—so, it is important to distinguish between indicatives and imperatives.

7. Remember that we read translations of the Bible. All languages have strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities—and moving from Greek and Hebrew to one of our modern languages (such as 21st century American English) will always require some additional scrutiny and study.

8. Remember that we must always interpret experience in light of Scripture; not the other way around.

9. Remember that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.

10. Remember that "there is nothing new under the sun." So, beware of innovative or novel interpretations of Scripture. Steer clear of new “discoveries” in Biblical revelation. We have a rich legacy of wisdom passed down to us from throughout church history so we should consult good commentaries whenever possible--and look to the "old paths" more often than not.

11. Remember that we should always read Scripture prayerfully, submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4 comments:

SEChapman said...

Thanks for posting this...I was working last night.... Now when ya gonna get to the sticky parts of the Bible...lol

The Morrisons said...

I wonder if last night you didn't reveal the true reason you had eleven hermeneutical principles. Hmmm... it sure does happen to make a convenient blog posting!

Ben said...

And if a twelfth principle is needed, this one is quite good: "I'm not sure."

megannn. said...

i'm thankful that i go to a school that teaches me all of these principles (and reiterates it in more than a few classes). it's sad how many people who love the Lord get confused and frustrated with Scripture because they don't understand these basic principles of study. (thanks for posting this).