This week’s episode of the Theology for the People podcast is a discussion I had with pastors Benjamin Morrison and Craig Babcock on the topic of hermeneutics and Biblical interpretation.
Hermeneutics is the method by which we interpret communication, particularly texts. Legal hermeneutics, for example, is the study of how laws, or the constitution for example, are to be understood and put into practice.
Biblical hermeneutics is all about how to correctly interpret the Bible, so that we can be doers of the Word, not hearers only.
The reason hermeneutics is worth considering is because different people, reading the same Bible, can come to differing conclusions about what it means. The reason that happens is an issue of theological method (see: Theological Method: Sources of Theology and Why People Arrive at Different Conclusions About Matters of Faith & the Bible) and hermeneutics.
It must be said that not all hermeneutics are equally valid. Some hermeneutics are better than others. Sometimes we even intentionally use a hermeneutics in order to properly interpret something, as we do with “Christ-centered hermeneutics” – in which we intentionally read all of Scripture as pointing to Jesus, which we do because Jesus himself told us that this was the proper way to read and interpret the Old Testament Scriptures (see Luke 24:44-48).
Other examples of good hermeneutics would be “biblical hermeneutics,” in which read the Bible understanding all of the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, meaning that each individual part of the Bible should be understood in light of what the rest of the Bible says. We might intentionally choose to read the gospels through a Jewish lens, seeking to put ourselves sin their shoes in order to understand the things that happened or were said.
Oftentimes, however, our hermeneutics are not intentional, and we may not be aware of them, and they do impact how we interpret and understand what the Bible says. How then can we become aware of the hermeneutics we’re unintentionally using so that we can determine if they are good or not?
In this episode we discuss this and other questions surrounding the topic of hermeneutics. You can listen here or in the embedded player below.