PART 1, CHAPTER 1
The Science of Getting the Word Out
God has given us His message for faith and life. It is in the Bible. To understand that message, one must do exegesis. This chapter presents a primer on exegesis, guidance, the grammatical-historical method of biblical hermeneutics, and expository preaching. A good grasp of these methods is vital in getting the Word out.
The word hermeneutics comes from the Greek word hermes, the name of the pagan god Mercury. In Greek mythology, he took the role of messenger of the gods.14 His job was to make the mind of the gods known to the people.15 Thus, “hermeneutics” in general refers to the science of interpreting the meaning of words in a different language.16
Biblical hermeneutics in particular is “the science that teaches the principles and methods of interpreting the Word of God.”17 It is simply “the science and method of interpreting the Bible,” establishing the guidelines and rules of biblical interpretation.18 Biblical hermeneutics is the science of interpreting what the biblical author has written.19 It determines the principles of biblical interpretation from Scripture itself.20 It includes interpreting authorial meaning, against its literary, historical, and cultural contexts.21
The task of the interpreter then is to determine the thoughts of the biblical writer as expressed in the language and culture of that writer. His job is to capture, photograph, and reproduce the mind of the biblical writer at the time of writing. Only then has he faithfully “interpreted the thought of the Scriptures.”22
14 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996), 330.
15 C. Matthew McMahon, “Interpreting the Bible.” Cited ___ Online: http://www.apuritansmind/Pastoral/McMahonInterpretingBible.htm.
16 Vine, Vine’s Complete, 330.
17 “Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction.” Cited __ Online: http://www.forananswer.org/Top_General/Hermeneutics.htm.
18 McMahon, “Interpreting the Bible.” Cited __ Online: http://www.apuritansmind/Pastoral/McMahonInterpretingBible.htm.
19 “Interpretation of the Bible.” Cited __ Online: http://www.theopedia.com/Hermeneutics.
20 “Biblical Hermeneutics.” Cited __ Online: http://www.forananswer.org.
21 James L. Parker, ed., Hermeneutics (Peterstown: Faith Overseas Mission, Inc., 1999), 22-23.
22 International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, s. v. “Interpretation,” by James Orr. Cited __ Online: http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T4633.