Biblical Hermeneutics may seem like a complicated subject, but it is crucial to our Bible study, theology, belief systems, and ultimately, our lives. Student writer Dan Masci explains why biblical hermeneutics is so important:
Biblical Hermeneutics: The Only Way to Be Confident
Have you ever wondered how two Christian scholars with similar desires to understand the Bible can come to two entirely different conclusions? If those who have spent their entire lives vigorously studying God’s Word don’t agree, what hope is there for us to know what’s true?
Can we really know what God wanted to communicate, or are we just stuck with our best guesses?
Biblical Hermeneutics is a fancy phrase for the process by which we approach the Bible and how we interpret the truths of God’s Word. The hermeneutic that we use will determine, to a certain degree, our understanding of what God has communicated. We want to ensure that we are not misusing or misinterpreting what He has given to us.
For some reason we like to treat the Bible differently from other literature. We tend to forget that the same rules of literary criticism apply to the Bible just as they do any other work.
Maybe it’s something as silly as ignoring the first half of a science lab report.
Could you imagine reading a tragedy as if it’s a comedy?
What about only reading a select few pages of a mystery novel and trying to explain it to someone?
The question we need to ask ourselves is: Do we do this when reading the Bible?
Maybe we have spent our entire lives reading the New Testament without ever understanding the foundation of the Old Testament. Or perhaps we’re tempted to read the prophets as if they’re letters to the Church. Have you ever enthusiastically scanned the pages of your bible for an encouraging passage while neglecting the historical and literary context? All of these examples are common and have dangers associated with them. Correct biblical hermeneutics will keep us away from many potential pitfalls.
Knowing how to study the bible with a proper hermeneutic will not only give us a greater confidence in our walk with God and protect us from danger, but it is a responsibility we have been given. God has given us wills to choose Him, bodies to serve Him, hearts to love Him and – most appropriate to this topic – minds to know Him.
We believe that God has spoken through flawed beings and that His communication is not hindered by man (2 Peter 21:16-21). Therefore truth can be known.
We believe that it’s God’s will for us to grow in our knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:9-10). Therefore truth should be known.
We believe that we have been given a stewardship to correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Therefore truth ought to be made known.
If truth can be known, should be known and ought to be made known, then the hermeneutic that we use is extremely important.
As students of the Word of God, it will do us well to tread carefully as we interpret. The Bible is the rightful authority over our lives, and if we’re misinterpreting it, our actions will not be grounded in truth. This should create a healthy fear as we seek to live under the authority of God.
Biblical hermeneutics is so important when we are studying Scripture. If we’re not handling the Word of God to the best of our ability, we are not being faithful with what God has given us.
Here at New Tribes Bible Institute
Here at New Tribes Bible Institute, we understand how vital it is to have a biblical hermeneutic in place. We know that of all the skills we could teach, this is one of the most important, because the way you interpret the Bible will greatly affect how you view God, how you live your life, and the way you minister to others. Because of this, we seek to instill a deep knowledge of how to interpret the Bible well. From our core freshman class of Hermeneutics, where we learn to ask questions, make observations, and connect different themes in the Bible, all the way to senior papers, our students are taught and pushed to utilize a biblical hermeneutic.
Don’t Miss Out
Don’t miss out on truth. Don’t fall into pitfalls while reading the Bible. A biblical hermeneutic will equip you to know God and his Word so more deeply than you ever thought possible. If you want to understand what God has revealed, it is more than important. It’s essential.
Anna Wishart is a graduate of Ethnos360 Bible Institute and continues to seek ways to be involved with missions through writing. She currently lives in Winchester, Virginia, and enjoys biking, art, friends, the mountain views, and attending Fellowship Bible Church.