Mar 11

Print this Post


As we continue to study the subject of Hermeneutics; we can look at the first article as Hermeneutics 101! The reason for this is that we looked at the subject in the simplest manner possible! Yet, if we will ask those basic questions as we study the Bible, they will clear up a lot of misunderstanding of several passages. We will get back to those questions as we look at a few verses which have been used incorrectly in the third article.
Some reject the idea of Hermeneutics because it is not in the Bible! However, it may surprise you that the word “hermeneutics” comes from the Greek word “hermeneuo” and the verb form appears four times in the New Testament: 1) John 1:38: “Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted (hermēneuō), Master,) where dwellest thou?”; 2) John 1:42: “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation (hermēneuō), A stone.”; 3) John 9:7: “And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation (hermēneuō), Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”; and 4) Heb. 7:2: “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation (hermēneuō) King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace.” Then, the noun, hermenia, appears twice: 1) 1 Cor. 12:10: “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation (hermēneia) of tongues;” and 2) 1 Cor. 14:26: “ How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation (hermēneia) . Let all things be done unto edifying.”
Let us take this a little further. With more study of the New Testament, we are able to learn the verb form later came to be used of “explaining,” “expounding,” “interpreting,” or even “translating.” The compound words appear fourteen times: diermeneuo (6), diermeneutes (1), and methermeneuo (7). Notice first Matthew 1:23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted ( methermēneuō) is, God with us.” And second in Mark 5:41: “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted (methermēneuō), Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” Before leaving this area, it should be noted the word group is used of “translating” the Scripture; this is found two times: 1) Luke 24:27: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded (diermēneuō) unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Therefore, we should not hear any more, “Hermeneutics is not in the New Testament!”
The above study should also help us understand better, Paul’s words to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). “A workman that needeth not to be ashamed” is one who is “rightly dividing (orthotomeō) the word of truth.” This requires “hermeneutics!” Another most interesting point from Paul’s words is that the words “rightly dividing;” come from one Greek word, which means: “to cut straight.” This requires that we engage in “hermeneutics!” One more thought just here; when you read the word ”interpreted” or “the interpretation,” you need to understand it is from the Greek word: “hermeneia;” and it is the word from which we get our English word, “hermeneutics!”
The English word “hermeneutics” meams: “the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)” (Merriam-Webster). Finally, look at these words: “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation (hermēneuō) King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace” (Heb. 7:2). Therefore, the Holy Spirit, who guided the writer of Hebrews, used “hermeneutiecs” in revealing that Melchisedec was “King of righteousness!”
So, what have we learned about the word “hermeneutics?” If you are searching the Bible and what it means, from the opening statement: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” you are using “Hermeneutics!”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/hermeneutics-2/