Here is the outline I used from tonight's podcast on hermeneutics. As promised, the links to the books I mentioned are at the end of this post.
What is hermeneutics? a method or principle of interpretation
- By very definition that means that we cannot interpret things any way we wish
- We are obliged to follow a set pattern of rules
- If we don't apply these rules then chaos of the text will follow
Why is hermeneutics important?
- It keeps the person honest about what the text says. IOW, let the text speak for itself
- It allows a proper personal application of the text to a person's circumstances. If you interpret the text wrong, you apply it wrong; if you apply it wrong consequences ensue.
Basic principles of hermeneutics
- CONTEXT IS KING!!
- Immediate context (verses surrounding the passage)
- Cultural/historical context
- Context of the entire book (who was it written to? Why was it written? What purpose?)
- Let Scripture interpret Scripture. This is very helpful, especially when you come to a passage that seems to contradict another passage (Romans & James)
- OBSERVATION (probably the most important part of study. Read the passage several times)
- Action verbs
- Contrasts (light-darkness, hot-cold, love-hate)
- Look for connecting thoughts and continuing thoughts (but, and, therefore, yet, etc) Ro 8:1
- Repetitive words/commands
- Key characters and places
- Don't let your brain disconnect when moving to a new section or chapter
- BE SURE TO NOTE CAREFULLY THE FOLLOWING THINGS
- Hyperbole (an exaggeration – Mt 19:24, Camel through the eye of a needle)
- Figures of speech (John 10:9, I am the door)
- Allegorical stories (Judges 7:9-21, Jotham and the tree allegory)
- Apocolyptical language (Revelation is a special concern)
- IMPORTANT! AT THIS STAGE YOU NOT TRYING TO INTERPRET. YOU ARE SIMPLY OBSERVING WHAT THE TEXT SAYS. PREMATURE INTERPRETATION CAN STILL LEAD TO A WRONG INTERPRETATION
- WORD STUDIES
- Look for key words that will help explain the text
- Use lexicons. If you don't know how to use them, learn!
- THINGS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF IN WORD STUDIES
- Words have different meanings in different context
- The same word will not always mean the same thing in different contexts but some of the connotations of the basic meaning may still be the same (use Eph 2 as example)
- Be sure to examine the word and how it is used in EVERY context in Scripture. CAREFULLY try to ascertain how the word, according to all of its meanings is used in the context of the particular passage you are studying
MOVE INTO THE INTERPRTATION STAGE
- Note the theological principles in the text. Some will be easier to find than others
- The principle should be timeless
- It should transcend culture and time
- It should have the same meaning to you as the original audience
- Cross the principlized bridge (what does the modern application look like)