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Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764

 Hermeneutics or Holy Spirit!

I posted a thread requesting information on Bible Study methods and Hermeneutics. The more I thought about this subject, I wondered if it is necessary? Not to neglect proper biblical methods of study to deepen your walk and knowledge of the Lord. But looking at different subjects on Hermeneutics, never ending curriculum, its over whelming! What if I don't fully understand grammatical interpretation. I was very weak in English in school, If it wasn't for spell check...I wouldn't send emails. Does it mean now that I can't rightly interpret scripture? Wouldn't that mean I am relying on myself and not the Holy Spirit? Can I learn to be an expositor without reading every thick book on bible study methods and taking classes? I wouldn't dare neglect a class that helped me understand scripture study habits better. But, I think there has been a level of insecurity on my part.

Don't miss understand me, I don't think classes and courses are wrong and should not be enrolled in. But, what if you never went to seminary and took all the deep theological studies, would you be disqualified from ministry? If I could I would like to take seminary courses, not for anything other than to learn...but if I don't can I still rightly divide the Word of God?

just some thought....

I still am planning on learning some bible study methods on Hermeneutics.

 2008/6/10 20:32Profile

Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re: Hermeneutics or Holy Spirit!

Good question. One doesn't have to be seminary trained to get this stuff. One simply has to be thoughtful. And in being thoughtful about this, if one is open and honest with themselves, then they will recognize that nobody ever just reads the Bible with simply them and the Holy Spirit.

Rather, one comes to the Bible using some sort of hermeneutic (principles of interpretation) whether they are conscious of and are able articulate those principles or not. Part of the goal of studying hermeneutics is to help us recognize what principles we are already using, to see if they are logical, and to see how we can better sharpen those principles that we utilize.

Of course, sometimes academics can make much to do about nothing in regard to all this. But sometimes the principles one uses in interpreting the Scriptures will yield significantly different results as a result. For example, the various interpretations given to the book of Revelation has to do largely due to the different principles of interpretation with which one approaches that book.

Where does the Holy Spirit come in all this? Well, as much as we will let Him! However, He will have little impact on our reading of the Scriptures if we can't make heads from tales in whatever the Scriptures are saying. For example, if I were to pick up a Bible in Chinese and begin to read it, I'll profit nothing from it. Likewise, if you are functionally illiterate, and can't read the Scriptures, then the Holy Spirit will profit you nothing in reading and interpreting those Scriptures.

For before the Holy Spirit can do His work, something must register in our intellect in our reading of the Scriptures. Thus, we must be able to make some logical sense and gain some intellectual understanding of a passage of Scripture before the Holy Spirit can really illuminate for us the full meaning and application of a passage. For example, in Mark 12:34 we read of how Jesus responded to a scribe with whom He was conversing concerning the kingdom of God: "When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions." The scribe's conclusions were drawn from a mere intellectual understanding and consideration of the things Christ had said. Thus, Christ saw an opportunity for this man to get the picture, and thought him not to far from the kingdom of God. He saw the scribe as somebody whom the Holy Spirit might lure into the kingdom.

We must be careful when reading the Scriptures that we don't read them too "mystically." That is, with some sort of detached mind that is just waiting for some supernatural fireworks to shoot off to bring illumination to a passage. We must be diligent and study with all our mental energies stirred. Sometimes such will involved questioning the way one studies (the issue of hermeneutics). It is the person who diligently studies and seeks the leading of the Holy Spirit in his life and study that will gain a true understanding of the Scriptures.

Jimmy H

 2008/6/10 22:55Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Heart hermeneutics

the deep theological studies

One simply has to be thoughtful.

Like that KJ and that which you expressed. The deep theological studies ... I truly believe and have said so in the past that there is a seminary education available right here, a spiritual one.

I also hear very well what you expressed by a more 'formal' (for lack of a better term) aspect of understanding the scriptures. It's not an either\or ... wish I could go to school again and study, learn Hebrew and Greek, study Christian history ... Theological constructs borne out of academia ... I don't know. It's all fascinating to just learn, to be a disciple, the definition being just that, a learner.

The study of the heart seems to be [i]the[/i] issue.

Mike Balog

 2008/6/10 23:38Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470


Rather, one comes to the Bible using some sort of hermeneutic (principles of interpretation) whether they are conscious of and are able articulate those principles or not. Part of the goal of studying hermeneutics is to help us recognize what principles we are already using, to see if they are logical, and to see how we can better sharpen those principles that we utilize.

Well said.

Unfortunately, babes in Christ often do not understand the importance of a systematic study of the scriptures. To illustrate my point: many years ago I briefly graded Bible lessons for a group that ministered to prison inmates. Some professed to be Christians and were very excited about the LORD. Good. And they wanted to be a preacher upon release from the institution. But they were not very literate in the scriptures and forget about hermeneutics. Seriously! They were so ignorant I am not sure any thinking person would listen. It seemed to me they were more interested in having a lot of attention then they were in knowing all the LORD had to say via the Scriptures. (I quit the grading job simply because I could not handle very well the ignorance demonstrated by these poor people. They could not read well, had poor comprehension skills, or none at all...)

My opinion for whatever it is worth.


Sandra Miller

 2008/6/10 23:49Profile

Joined: 2007/9/13
Posts: 1752


ginnyrose wrote:


They could not read well, had poor comprehension skills, or none at all...

Sounds just like the kind of people Jesus would hang out with.


 2008/6/11 1:30Profile

Joined: 2004/7/23
Posts: 210


You have posed a very good topic. It is of great importance we understand both the role of the Holy Spirit and proper hermeneutics.

I wrestled with the same questions you're wrestling with. I thought to myself, do I need to master Hebrew or Greek to become a student of Scripture? Do I need to abide by the methods that seminary professors advise their students to go by?

While there may be wisdom in some of these things, thee most important role out of them all is what Jesus Himself said of the Scriptures in John 5:39 "...they testify of Me."

All of Scripture moves forward and points to the Man Christ Jesus. If we can keep the focus on Christ, Scripture's purpose will unfold. Understanding the literature, the context, the history behind the Scripture is very important. But we must also remember it is more than a history book - it is the Word of God, penned by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit's ministry is to magnify Jesus Christ.

Jesus said He came not to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them! In Acts we see how the Scriptures were used by the apostles to "prove that Jesus is the Christ."

 2008/6/11 10:37Profile

Joined: 2007/2/21
Posts: 220
Richmond, VA

 Re: Hermeneutics or Holy Spirit!

What a very good question. This is my opinion therefore take it for what it is worth( which could be nothing ha ha ha). When it comes to Hermeneutics one must engage it with balance. For example.

2 Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This shows us that man should study the word and received from the word not just in spirit but mentally. The word study means

application of the mental faculties to the acquisition of knowledge. So when God tells us to study he wants us to receive not only in spirit but in mind so that we can have logical answers and not as some say Blind faith which is never true.

This is where I believe the spirit comes in.

2 Tim 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

This is a wonderful verse because it tells us that all scripture has been given by the spirit of God in the past and there is no new revelation coming forth as far as someone coming up with some new book what we have is it and the base or foundation of the believers life( these scriptures and books of the bible given by the spirit) He is it's expositor first and foremost. he goes on to talk about doctrine(understanding key biblical principles) reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness this is the purpose of why the spirit gave the scriptures not to make us big shots or the next T.V preacher, but so that we can apply the word to our lives. Now I don't like to split hairs but we miss something here which is the phrase (inspiration of God). in the greek that means "God breathed" he is the one that gave life to the scriptures and is still giving life to it. So here it is. When we study the word taking a systematic approch to it and follow laws of interpretation (Hermeneutics) the Holy Spirit who is a spirit of truth (John 16:13) and John 17:17 says the word the scriptures are truth reveals to our minds what he has said in his word and once he does that Freedom is the result have you noticed when paul told timothy that some are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth (2 Timothy 3:7) I wonder why that is. well I feel that it is because the holy spirit makes the word know to us not in a mystical way, but in the context of what he has placed in the scriptures not violating his own word( which is how cults and false revivals get started. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free John 8:31-32 he did not just say that he said that before we receive truth we will have to continue in the word (toil over it, for example study is mental toil) and then and only then truth(Gods word is revealed and how is it revealed well the spirit of truth the holy spirit reveals it) so we see that God like the brothers said in the post below not want you to have a spiritual mystic view of the scriptures or you will end up in the Lakeland ditch. But he wants you to have a logical understanding of scriptures in the context of what it is saying which he will help you obtain by his spirit revealing truth to us first by his holy spirit to our spirit illuminating the mind to give us a logical understanding as well remember what Hebrews 4:12 says.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Show us the word not only effects our spirit but our understanding, mind and logic as well because we know as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

So both Hermanutics and the Holy spirit are valid for proper biblical interpretation.


 2008/6/11 10:37Profile

Joined: 2007/6/25
Posts: 764

 Re: No need to look far!

I truly believe and have said so in the past that there is a seminary education available right here, a spiritual one.

Amen to that...SI has been such an encouragement to my walk..I really had to look at things in my life. God has used SI to stretch and grow me more in a year than the 10 years I was a "Christian."


 2008/6/11 19:56Profile

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