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Hermeneutics–How to Study the Bible?

I’m taking a course on hermeneutics this week so I thought I would share some tips on How to Study the Bible more effectively.

You might not have ever heard the word hermeneutic, but you use it everyday.  Hermeneutics is the science/art of interpretation.  Every time you read a newspaper (bad example), a blog, a note from a friend,  or a book you are using a hermeneutic.  You are using your reasoning ability to understand what is being stated.  You might then wonder why do I have to be taught how to understand the Bible.  My initial response would be technically you do not.  Much of what hermeneutics is is applying our common sense and everyday interpretational skills to the text of Scripture.  However, in my opinion there are several reasons why I special study on how to interpret the Bible (i.e. hermeneutics) is helpful:

1.  The nature of the Bible demands a close reading.  The Scriptures claim to be an authoritative revelation from God.  As Christians we believe  the Bible is God’s message to man.  Thus we want to make sure we understand the message correctly.

2. The Bible was written in a different language to a different culture(s) in a different millenium.  This does not mean that it is not understandable or that it lacks relevance, but it does mean there are certain challenges that must be addressed as we approach Scripture.

3. The Bible is one of the most researched and written about books in the world.  This means that numerous people have weighed in their opinion on what certain texts mean.  Therefore we need some way to evaluate those truth claims.

4. Improper interpretation can have dire consequences.  Just as the Jews who missed the Messiah because they failed to see Him in Scripture.

There are numerous other reasons that could be given to why we need to practice good Bible Study skills.  This week I will share with you some basic tips each afternoon.

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1 Comment

  1. One thing I sometimes have a hard time with is understanding when certain things in the Bible are applicable or written really for the people that were being addressed at the time of the writing. it’s difficult to understand that sometimes. For instance, if there is some law behind the scenes that the people were violating that the writing is warning them about, even though the law they are breaking may not be specifically mentioned in the passage, ie, the passage in Matthew in the sermon on the mount about giving to the poor and not turning away those who ask.

    Looking forward to hearing your tips each day.

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