Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. The principles and rules found here are derived from the Bible itself, either by using the rules themselves or by the examples of the Biblical authors. See Augustine's error for a criticism of the hermeneutic methods that were introduced to the church early in it's history.

The Biblical warrant for hermeneutics

Because eternal life comes from and through Jesus (Joh 14:6, Joh 17:3), some may be tempted to say that they know Jesus, and therefor do not need to read or understand the Bible. But many who believed they knew Jesus will be turned away. (Mt 7:23)

Among those who studied the scriptures diligently were the scribes and Pharisees. Using the methods of human hermeneutics they missed the point of the scriptures. (Joh 5:39) He rebuked the most educated religious scholars for a single error of doctrine which revealed that they did not know the scriptures nor the power of God. (Mt 22:29, Mr 12:24) They mistakenly believed that there was marriage in heaven because they did not know how to read the scriptures properly. (Mt 22:30, Mr 12:25) One who believes that the marriage of the Lamb is after the resurrection or in heaven (Re 19:7, Re 19:9) may wish to learn to read the scriptures properly.

After following Jesus for three years, even the disciples did not understand the scriptures. (Lu 24:27, Lu 24:32), but required that he reteach it to them after the resurrection (Lu 24:45).

As the apostles began to preach, they taught the scriptures and how to interpret them correctly, reasoning with their listeners to convince them that Jesus was the promised Messiah. (Ac 17:2, Ac 18:24, Ac 18:28)

They did not teach by means of their own ability, nor by their own interpretation, but even as the prophets of old were moved by God to prophesy (2Pe 1:20, 2Pe 1:21), the apostles were moved by God to interpret scripture correctly. (2Pe 1:19) They even had the Holy Ghost to remind them of what they had learned (Joh 14:26), and to help them formulate their sermons(Lu 12:12).

Do not stop there with your reasoning! The apostles did not retain an exclusive rights to the Holy Ghost. Paul reminded us that God is able to establish us in the "preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began". (Ro 16:25)

Jesus taught the apostles who were commanded to teach others (Mt 28:20) and they did. (Ac 5:25, Ac 18:11, 2Ti 2:2).

Proper hermeneutics were taught by the apostles, and that teaching is contained in the New Testament scriptures. From the prophets and the apostles we can learn to read the scriptures properly, especially when that teaching is accompanied by the Holy Ghost. (Jas 1:5)

Rules and hints

Rules are derived from the scriptures and apply to the general topic of hermeneutics.
Hints are helps that assist in exegesis when certain conditions exist.
Last modified on 5 July 2014, at 08:37