Introduction to Biblical Interpretation – 2

  1. Introduction to Hermeneutics

    1. Hermeneutics is the science and art of biblical interpretation

      Textual Criticism has for its special object ascertaining of the exact words of the original texts of the sacred books. Its method of procedure is to collate and compare ancient manuscripts, ancient versions, and ancient scripture quotations, and, by careful and discriminating judgment, sift conflicting testimony, weigh the evidences of all kinds, and thus endeavour to determine the true reading of every doubtful text. This science is often called the Lower Criticism. Where such criticism ends, Hermeneutics properly begins, and aims to establish the principles, methods, and rules which are needful to unfold the sense of what is written. Its object is to elucidate [to make clear; explain; remove obscurity from and render intelligible] whatever may be obscure or ill-defined, so that every reader may be able, by an intelligent process, to obtain the exact ideas intended by the author. Exegesis is the application of these principles and laws, the actual bringing out into formal statement, and by other terms, the meaning of the author s words. Exegesis is related to hermeneutics as preaching is to homiletics, or, in general, as practice is to theory. Exposition is another word often used synonymously with exegesis, and has essentially the same signification ; and yet, perhaps, in common usage, exposition denotes a more extended development and illustration of the sense, dealing more largely with other scriptures by comparison and contrast.

      …The textual critic detects interpolations, emends false readings, and aims to give us the very words which the sacred writers used. The exegete takes up these words, and by means of the principles of hermeneutics, defines their meaning, elucidates the scope and plan of each writer, and brings forth the grammatico-historical sense of what each book contains. The expositor builds upon the labours both of critics and exegetes, and sets forth in fuller form, and by ample illustration, the ideas, doctrines, and moral lessons of the Scripture. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, pp. 19-20

      1. Hermeneutics deals with the translation aspect of bringing what the original Biblical authors actually wrote to a non-native speaker.

        1. Much of the work has been done by virtue of translation from original language to receptor language.

        2. What is left is to determine the one sense among several a particular word or word group has in a given text.

          1. Is it an idiom?

          2. A figurative expression?

          3. To be understood “literally” and in what sense?

      2. Exegesis deals with explaining the meaning of the words used in their context.

        The prospectors made a strike yesterday up in the mountains.
        The union went on
        strike this morning.
        The batter made his third
        strike and was called out by the umpire.
        Strike up the Star Spangled Banner.
        The fisherman got a good
        strike in the middle of the lake.

      3. Exposition deals with the explanation, illustration and application of concepts and principles communicated by the text.

    2. The Goals of Hermeneutics

      1. Exegesis: To Determine the Meaning of a Passage in its Original Context. (John 1:38, 42; John 9:7; Hebrews 7:2)

      2. Contextualization

    3. Avoid Shortcutting the Hermeneutical Process

      1. Application without exegesis (Matthew 5:17-48)

      2. Exegesis without contextualization (See 2 Peter 1:20, cp. NIV & NKJV; also College Press Commentary)

        knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation (NKJV)

        Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. (NIV)

        The NIV translation is quite interpretive here, since the original is somewhat ambiguous. The major part of the sentence may also be translated, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (NRSV). This translation would imply that Peter is objecting to the private (and incorrect) interpretation of prophecy practiced by the false teachers. However, this understanding does not suit well the preceding (19) and especially the following verse (21). The NIV interpretation seems best.

        The false teachers have rejected not only the teaching of Peter and the other apostles about the coming of Christ but also the teachings of the prophets about this event. Their judgment may have been that God never inspired such prophecies but that the prophets were wrongly interpreting their visions or whatever signs God may have given them. Therefore Peter asserts that all prophecy in Scripture originated with God, not with the prophet. That is to say that not only the visions or dreams came from God but so did the prophets’ understanding of them. This seems to be the point of the next verse. College Press

    4. Summary

2. Introduction to Hermeneutics (Part 2)

  1. Introduction to Hermeneutics

    1. Hermeneutics is the science and art of biblical interpretation

      Textual Criticism has for its special object ascertaining of the exact words of the original texts of the sacred books. Its method of procedure is to collate and compare ancient manuscripts, ancient versions, and ancient scripture quotations, and, by careful and discriminating judgment, sift conflicting testimony, weigh the evidences of all kinds, and thus endeavour to determine the true reading of every doubtful text. This science is often called the Lower Criticism. Where such criticism ends, Hermeneutics properly begins, and aims to establish the principles, methods, and rules which are needful to unfold the sense of what is written. Its object is to elucidate [to make clear; explain; remove obscurity from and render intelligible] whatever may be obscure or ill-defined, so that every reader may be able, by an intelligent process, to obtain the exact ideas intended by the author. Exegesis is the application of these principles and laws, the actual bringing out into formal statement, and by other terms, the meaning of the author s words. Exegesis is related to hermeneutics as preaching is to homiletics, or, in general, as practice is to theory. Exposition is another word often used synonymously with exegesis, and has essentially the same signification ; and yet, perhaps, in common usage, exposition denotes a more extended development and illustration of the sense, dealing more largely with other scriptures by comparison and contrast.

      …The textual critic detects interpolations, emends false readings, and aims to give us the very words which the sacred writers used. The exegete takes up these words, and by means of the principles of hermeneutics, defines their meaning, elucidates the scope and plan of each writer, and brings forth the grammatico-historical sense of what each book contains. The expositor builds upon the labours both of critics and exegetes, and sets forth in fuller form, and by ample illustration, the ideas, doctrines, and moral lessons of the Scripture. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, pp. 19-20

      1. Hermeneutics deals with the translation aspect of bringing what the original Biblical authors actually wrote to a non-native speaker.

        1. Much of the work has been done by virtue of translation from original language to receptor language.

        2. What is left is to determine the one sense among several a particular word or word group has in a given text.

          1. Is it an idiom?

          2. A figurative expression?

          3. To be understood “literally” and in what sense?

      2. Exegesis deals with explaining the meaning of the words used in their context.

        The prospectors made a strike yesterday up in the mountains.
        The union went on
        strike this morning.
        The batter made his third
        strike and was called out by the umpire.
        Strike up the Star Spangled Banner.
        The fisherman got a good
        strike in the middle of the lake.

      3. Exposition deals with the explanation, illustration and application of concepts and principles communicated by the text.

    2. The Goals of Hermeneutics

      1. Exegesis: To Determine the Meaning of a Passage in its Original Context. (John 1:38, 42; John 9:7; Hebrews 7:2)

      2. Contextualization

    3. Avoid Shortcutting the Hermeneutical Process

      1. Application without exegesis (Matthew 5:17-48)

      2. Exegesis without contextualization (See 2 Peter 1:20, cp. NIV & NKJV; also College Press Commentary)

        knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation (NKJV)

        Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. (NIV)

        The NIV translation is quite interpretive here, since the original is somewhat ambiguous. The major part of the sentence may also be translated, “No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation” (NRSV). This translation would imply that Peter is objecting to the private (and incorrect) interpretation of prophecy practiced by the false teachers. However, this understanding does not suit well the preceding (19) and especially the following verse (21). The NIV interpretation seems best.

        The false teachers have rejected not only the teaching of Peter and the other apostles about the coming of Christ but also the teachings of the prophets about this event. Their judgment may have been that God never inspired such prophecies but that the prophets were wrongly interpreting their visions or whatever signs God may have given them. Therefore Peter asserts that all prophecy in Scripture originated with God, not with the prophet. That is to say that not only the visions or dreams came from God but so did the prophets’ understanding of them. This seems to be the point of the next verse. College Press

    4. Summary

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