Archives For Hermeneutics

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John 10:10 says “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy”. Most presume that “the thief” refers to the devil. But does it?

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How ought we read the Bible?

Scott Smith —  November 21, 2012 — 4 Comments

 

 

(This is an introduction to a Sunday School class on the topic. More posts will follow addressing individual passages.)

Reading For Understanding

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…

You likely recognize this sentence as the opening to the Gettysburg Address, given by Lincoln in 1863. Some questions I asked in class:

  • Is that statement true?
  • Is it literally true?
  • Is it true for us?

Here’s what I’m driving at. Our nation was not founded 87 years ago. It was not founded by my father, or yours, or Lincoln’s for that matter. And can nations be conceived? That sounds like a complicated pregnancy. And – “all men are created equal” – what do you mean by men? What do you mean by created? And equal in what sense?

Here’s the thing: Language is important. That makes it incredibly important that we do our part to understand it correctly.

Whenever we look at a historical document, we are reading someone else’s mail. That does not mean that it loses any value, but it does mean that we need to read it differently than if we were reading our own.

Some people call the Bible things like “God’s love letter to us” or “basic instructions before leaving earth”.  These are nice sentiments I suppose, but they are hugely inaccurate. The Bible is the means by which God has spoken to humanity for all time. For us to understand it properly, we must understand the principles of reading someone else’s mail. Continue Reading…