Generation Word Bible School presented hermeneutics, the science of biblical interpretation, as one of its classes this month. The purpose of hermeneutics is to establish guidelines and rules for interpreting any written document in order to discover the thoughts and meaning of the writer. Errors in Bible interpretation have always been one of the main problems for students of the Word. Jewish methods of literalism and allegorism resulted in conflict with Jesus.
Here are some rules we discussed:
1) Read the Bible like any other book.
2) Put yourself into the story. What were they thinking, hearing, etc.
3) Let the teaching of the Epistles give meaning to the events in the Gospels and Acts.
4) Do not confuse the clear (explicit) meaning of the verse with an implied meaning from the verse.
5) Let words mean what the author
a) Word meanings change. “Scan” was “To examine point by point.
b) Words have multiple meanings. “Will of God” can mean his law, his action, or his desire. All result in different meanings.
c) Words develop doctrinal concepts around them that the original writers did not have. “Saved” is not always from sin.
6) Note differences between absolute laws and wisdom principles.
7) Seek to follow the spirit of the author not the letter of the law.
8) Parables teach a major point; not every detail has a meaning.
There can only be one true interpretation, but there will be many applications of the truth.