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The Bible

The Interpretation of Scripture

Ecclesiastes 8:1
Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man's wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam.
NASB

Hermeneutics, from the Greek hermeneia, means to interpret or translate, and is so used in this fashion in the few places the word is found in Scriptures. While it is important for all of us to understand God's Word as He intended, human nature is such that this is not always possible. We all bring to the table differing views. No interpretation may be made in an ideal vacuum. Rather each of us has certain presuppositions and preunderstandings which will affect our view of a Scripture passage.

The goal of interpretation is

"The original biblical text alone was inspired, for only its meaning was encoded in the original historical context...The meaning of the text is that which the words and grammatical structures of that text disclose about the probable intention of its author/editor and the probable understanding of that text by its intended readers." (1)

As we read Psalms 19 and 119 we can see the love and respect that the Psalmist, indeed, the nation of Israel had for God's Word. Never in all the sins of the Nation was Israel ever accused of altering or denying God's written Word. They as a nation and individually may not have followed God's commands, they may have ignored God's Word, they may have misinterpreted what the precepts meant, but Israel did not question the sacred scrolls as being the Word of God.

This is not so with modern man. Beginning in the mid-to-late 1700s, man has begun to question the foundations of the written Word. This attack is against the underlying presuppositions and preunderstandings about God's Word. It attacks such issues as who wrote the scrolls, when were they written, and the attacks exhibit a lack of believe in the entire concept of the supernatural.

What, then, is the correct way to read and interpret Scripture? Read on.

1. Hubbard, Page 133

 

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