Important principles of good face-value hermeneutic

Important principles of good face-value hermeneutic

Postby Abiding in His Word on Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:06 pm

5 important principles of a good face-value hermeneutic:

1. Seek to understand the author/Author's intended meaning. As stated above, the overriding principle of our Bible study must be to understand what the human author (and divine Author) intended to communicate. The only way to accurately do this is to take words in their normal meaning. As the adage goes, "if the plain sense makes sense you have the right sense."

2. All Scripture must be taken in its proper context. This means that the interpretation of Scripture should be looked at in the light of the verses and book in which the passage is found. The argument of the author must be taken into account. The historical and cultural context should be remembered as well. This is perhaps the most violated of all the principles and is, in my opinion, the number one violation of biblical interpretation which plagues the church today. A text without context is a pretext!

3. Always compare Scripture with other Scripture. In other words, Scripture is its own best commentary. All the passages touching on a particular matter need to be studied and harmonized before truth is found. If one is studying the return of Christ, then one needs to compare passages from Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Matthew, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, Jude, Revelation, etc. Only once all relevant passages have been studied and compared, can we be sure of our interpretation. Martin Luther said, "The best interpreter of Scripture is other Scripture."

4. Determine the literal references of figures of speech that provide comparison, substitution, and amplification. Scripture, like any serious literature, uses figures of speech. These include similes, metaphors, hyperbole, idioms, metonymies, parallelism, etc. It is our job to recognize these figures of speech and discover what the author intended in his usage. What is the literal reference the author wishes us to understand?

5. Recognize the near/far implications and applications in prophetic passages. It is common in prophetic literature for there to be both a near application and a far application to a certain prophecy. A few examples will illustrate this. A near future judgment will be predicted on a nation followed by a prediction of far future judgment on the whole world. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation were relevant to their immediate audience and included specific items of praise and condemnation by Christ. These letters also mention the Coming of Christ and are thus relevant to the final generation which will be on earth when He returns. And finally, there are several OT passages which speak of the two Comings of Christ back to back, as if they were one event. This is a phenomenon called "telescoping". J. Barton Payne says, "Biblical prophecy may leap from one prominent peak in predictive topography to another, without notice of the valley between which may involve no inconsiderable lapse in chronology" (J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, p. 137).

If we are to understand biblical prophecy (or any other part of Scripture) we must approach the Bible with a humble heart, relying on the Holy Spirit, with the conviction that God's Word is true and cannot contradict itself. And the bottom line of our study must be obedience and submission to God's Word. As A.W. Tozer said, "When you find the truth of Scripture that truth always stands in judgment of you, you never stand in judgment of it."
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Abiding in His Word
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Re: Important principles of good face-value hermeneutic

Postby Stillwatch on Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:03 am

Great post, Abiding, and I like the link you posted. That's a site I'm going to explore in more depth.

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