I Could ALWAYS Learn More On the Bible…
I have a lesson on the reliability of the Bible, but it’s essentially the same as a series of lessons we a few months ago on the “Bible Authority” chapter of our discipleship manual. I hate to skip it, because we can ALWAYS be strengthened on our understanding of the Scriptures, but, this time, I’ll just recommend that you do some of your own research through some of the past books that we’ve recommended, including Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell; Understanding the Bible for Yourself, by David Cloud; 10 Reasons to Trust the Bible, by Don Stewart; A More Sure Word, by R. B. Ouellette; and Why Believe the Bible, by John MacArthur, for starters.
In the meantime, we’re marching right along!
Last time we met (two weeks ago), we finished with Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to run the same race the same way, and we started in on what HERMENEUTICS is. Well, it’s a big word for finding the meaning of a text.
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
EXPOUNDED here is the verb form derived from hermeneo, or, “interpretation,” such as in 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, Master,) where dwellest thou?”
So, YES, the Holy Spirit guides us to the Scriptures and illuminates what is there, but that doesn’t mean He interprets them for us. We have to do the hard work of finding out what God said to then find out what He is saying still to us.
I’ve been reading the strangest words lately… locution, illocution, and perlocution are not words that normal people use, but when we’re dealing with God’s Word, I realize that we need a certain level of specificity when we’re figuring out what it’s saying. So, scholars come up with technical explanations for everything—what a word IS (locution), what a word IMPLIES (illocution), and what a word INTENDS (perlocution).
Wednesday – June 29, 2022 // Calvary Baptist Church, Temecula 2
Further, the “meaning” of a text varies by type, either referential (a tree is a plant by my office), denotative (a biological description of wood, bark, etc.), connotative (a special meaning like “cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree”), and contextual (referring to one particular thing, e.g. “That tree…”)
When you stretch the meanings of words out like that, one can see pretty quickly how muddy the waters might get (Imagine an alien trying to learn English and reading about “muddy waters” in the context of understanding the Bible. See how easily we use hermeneutics without even trying?) The original languages and readers and writers each have a context of life, language, culture, and understanding that would greatly help us once we do some of our own study.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard… but it’s not altogether easy, either. If it were easy, everyone would be right, and we’d have no differences of interpretations!
So, tonight, let’s dive into how to find the meaning of a text.