Welcome to the third and final installation in this series in the series on hermeneutics. Over the past two posts, we’ve looked at the process of exegesis — in other words, exploring a Biblical passage to draw out its true meaning. This is foundational to the historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics, the system of Biblical interpretation regarding the Bible to be the real, accurate, inspired Word of God.
Tag Archives: observation
Last week, we looked at the first step in good hermeneutics, observation. Observation is very simply just taking one’s time to see what the passage in question actually says. We have to resist the tendency to begin assigning meaning to things yet, but simply write down what we actually see in the Scripture.
Our example passage was Genesis 2:18-22. We ended up with a simple bullet list like this:
- God said it was not good that man should be alone.
- God said He would make the man a helper comparable to him.
- God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call them.
- Adam named every living creature.
- There was no helper comparable to Adam found among the animals.
- God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep.
- God took a rib from Adam’s side and closed up the wound.
- God took the rib He had taken, and made it into a woman.
- God brought the woman to the man.
Ideally, this first step of observation should include a lot more of the biblical context, but for the sake of space on this blog, we’re taking on just a few verses at a time.
Now it’s time to start asking the question, what does this mean?
As I mentioned at the end of last post, I want to explain why I went to the lengthy detail I did regarding Genesis 1-3. It seems like a lot of work, especially considering that I (purposefully) didn’t say anything that the Bible doesn’t already say. But that’s actually the point. It’s the necessary starting ground for good hermeneutics.
Simply defined, a hermeneutic is the system that governs how one interprets and understands the Bible. Everyone who reads the Bible — serious scholar or no — operates under some kind of hermeneutic. Read the rest of this entry »