Biblical hermeneutics.It’s the study of the principles and methods of interpreting the Bible. That’s super important! Second Timothy 2:15 commands believers to be involved in hermeneutics: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who . . . correctly handles the word of truth.” The purpose of biblical hermeneutics is to help us know how to interpret, understand, and apply the Bible correctly.
- The Bible must be interpreted literally unless…
The Bible is to be interpreted literally. Take the plain meaning of a passage over a complicatedinterpretation unless it’s meant to be symbolic or a figure of speech.
- Bible passages must be interpreted historically, grammatically, and contextually.
Contextually: Who wrote the book? When was it written? To whom was it written? What is the purpose of the book?
Grammatically: A Greek interlinear helps understand Bible grammar. It shows the original language, our English version, and the grammatical structure of the Greek sentence. Bible dictionaries also help with understanding basic grammar.
Historically: What was going on at the time the book was written? Who was in power? How did they use their power? What was the result? Knowing the times and customs of the people when the book was written is a great help in understanding the Bible.
- Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture.
Interpret a passage inthe context of the passage. What are the preceding verses about? What do the following verses mean? Verses form paragraphs, and paragraphs take the shape of spiritual ideas, and these ideas are what the book is about.
Some parts of the Bible are more difficult than other parts. Use a simple companion verse to explain the more difficult passages.
Remember, the Bible is inspired by God, and therefore it is as He wants it.If something doesn’t make sense or seems contradictory, it is due to misunderstanding, not a Biblical error. More study is going to help fix that. Take care not to add, change, or delete verses. That’s a sure way to misunderstand the Bible. Endeavor to put away opinions and preconceived ideas. Try to read the book with an open, objective point of view.
Read the Bible with an awareness of where it fits within the wholeBible story. You can’t pick up a book, begin reading in the middle, and then try to understand what it’s about.Understand how a book explains God’s will. For example, how does Ruth fit in the overall Bible story?
If the Bible is about Jesus, then know that the Old Testament points to Him (Luke 24:27, Luke 24:44; John 5:39, John 5:46). The Gospels are obviously about Jesus, and the rest of the New Testament points back to His life. The entire Bible points to Jesus and should be understood through the coming, arrival, redemption, resurrection, and second coming of Christ.