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Hermeneutics

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Bibliology, Lesson 4

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Hermeneutics

  1. 2. Hermeneutics The Science of Biblical Interpretation
  2. 3. “ Correctly Dividing the Word” (2 Timothy 2:15)
  3. 4. We must note what kind of literary form we are reading . . . <ul><li>Biblical stories (narrative)? </li></ul><ul><li>Proverbs? </li></ul><ul><li>Prophecy? </li></ul><ul><li>Parables? </li></ul>
  4. 5. Interpreting Proverbs <ul><li>A biblical proverb is a short, pithy saying that expresses a wise, general truth concerning life from a divine perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Proverbs are not “laws.” They are not even “promises.” They are principles that function as general truths. </li></ul><ul><li>Proverbs are true as a general rule, but there are exceptions. </li></ul>
  5. 6. Examples <ul><li>Proverbs 22:6— </li></ul><ul><li>“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Is this ALWAYS true? </li></ul><ul><li>Are their not exceptions? </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Solomon no doubt was aware of Eli’s sons who did not follow the path of their devout father (1 Samuel 2). </li></ul><ul><li>Solomon was no doubt aware of the evil sons of the good kings of Judah (2 Chronicles 14ff). </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions, like the prodigal son, who “come to their senses” (Luke 15:17) and return home to the faith of their parents. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Another Example <ul><li>Proverbs 26:4-5— </li></ul><ul><li>Verse 4: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” </li></ul><ul><li>Verse 5: “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>So what do we do, do we “answer” or “not answer?” </li></ul><ul><li>Are we to respond to the fool or not? </li></ul>
  9. 10. ANSWER: It depends on the fool!
  10. 11. Interpreting Hyperbole (exaggeration) <ul><li>Hyperbole is “exaggeration which is not meant to be literally carried out.” </li></ul><ul><li>We use hyperbole when we REALLY want to get a point across. </li></ul><ul><li>“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” </li></ul><ul><li>“It killed me to have to tell him the truth.” </li></ul>
  11. 12. Exaggeration / Hyperbole in the Bible <ul><li>“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me” (Psalm 22:14). </li></ul><ul><li>“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24). </li></ul><ul><li>“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4). </li></ul>
  12. 13. Misinterpreting Hyperbole <ul><li>Most people are intuitively able to determine if a passage contains hyperbole. They just “know” that such passages should not be interpreted literally. But not always . . . </li></ul><ul><li>1970s “Jesus Movement.” </li></ul><ul><li>Members were to “hate” their parents on the basis of Luke 14:26. </li></ul><ul><li>Some have mutilated themselves due to the misinterpretation of Matthew 5:29-30. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Two basic rules to recognize exaggeration in the Bible: <ul><li>1) The statement conflicts with what the Bible says elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>Example : Compare Luke 14:26 with Mark 7:10. </li></ul><ul><li>2) The literal fulfillment would not achieve the desired goal. </li></ul><ul><li>Example : Would cutting off one’s hand keep one from stealing? Would gouging out one’s eye keep a person from lusting? </li></ul>
  14. 15. The Point of Hyperbole <ul><li>It is used when the biblical speaker/ writer REALLY wants to get a point across. </li></ul><ul><li>So, when Jesus talks about “hating one’s parents” and “cutting off one’s hand” etc., what point is He REALLY wanting to get across? Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><li>Let nothing stand between you and your relationship with God. </li></ul><ul><li>There’s no sin worth going to hell for. </li></ul>
  15. 16. Interpreting Parables <ul><li>Parables generally teach ONE MAIN POINT. </li></ul><ul><li>As such, we are not to press the DETAILS of the parable. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: What is the meaning of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)? </li></ul>
  16. 17. It’s wrong to press the details: <ul><li>The “certain man” as Adam. </li></ul><ul><li>The “robbers” are the Devil and his demons. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Priest” is the Law. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Levite” is the Prophets. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Good Samaritan” is Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Inn” is the Church. </li></ul><ul><li>The “Innkeeper” is the Apostle Paul. </li></ul>
  17. 18. So what is the ONE MAIN POINT of the Good Samaritan? <ul><li>Note the context : read the verses before and after the parable. </li></ul><ul><li>The parable answers the lawyer’s question: “Who is my neighbor.” </li></ul><ul><li>The ONE MAIN POINT: We should love those in need just as the Good Samaritan loved the man who fell among thieves. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Read the Bible through Next Year! <ul><li>I suppose I knew my Bible, reading piecemeal, hit or miss, now a bit of John or Matthew, now a snatch of Genesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Certain chapters of Isaiah, certain Psalms (the 23 rd ), 12 th of Romans, 1 st of Proverbs—Yes, I thought I knew the Word! </li></ul><ul><li>But I found that thorough reading was a different thing to do, and the way was unfamiliar when I read the Bible through. </li></ul>
  19. 20. <ul><li>You who like to play at Bible, dip and dabble, here and there, just before you kneel, aweary, and yawn through a hurried prayer; </li></ul><ul><li>You who treat the Crown of Writings as you treat no other book, just a paragraph, disjointed, just a crude, impatient look. </li></ul><ul><li>Try a worthier procedure, try a broad and steady view; you will kneel in very rapture when you read the Bible through.”—(Amos Wells) </li></ul>
  20. 21. READ THE WORD!!!

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