When two people read the same Bible passage but come away with different meanings, only one of two things is possible:
- Both are wrong
- One is correct and the other is wrong
They cannot both be correct.
This is why you should never respectfully disagree when it comes to disagreements about morality and God’s Word. To do so is to agree that erroneous interpretation is acceptable.
A Weird Word: Hermeneutics
Hermeneutics is a method of interpreting the meaning of something. That “something” is almost always Scripture.
When two people walk away from identical verses with different conclusions, the problem is due to a difference in hermeneutics used. One, for example, may have spiritualized away a literal statement. That is, read more into a verse than the verse says.
If you want to know how to study your Bible better, a short study about hermeneutics is important.
Correction – It is your responsibility to learn about hermeneutics if you are a believer. This is because a proper understanding of what God tells you is your responsibility as a believer.
If you ignore hermeneutics because it sounds like something hard to understand, then every time you read your Bible you risk being a fool. Proverbs tells us: A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
For a fantastic read and yes – even an exciting introduction to hermeneutics, you should read Prolegomena on Biblical Hermeneutics and Method. Yes, it sounds kind of horrid, not unlike a book you were forced to read in college. But it’s not horrid.
Prolegomena is even somewhat remarkable in my opinion.
And easy to understand.
Yes, a Logos version is available. Yea!
Two New Hermeneutic Models
Coined too late to be included among the historical hermeneutics of Prolegomena are these two new hermeneutics. I was not the sole author of the first one although I did hone it to perfection. (I obviously have not read the verses on humility using a proper hermeneutic.)
The Eight-Year Hermeneutic:
Definition: Ask an 8-year old, “What does this verse mean?” Almost always…you’ll hear what it means.
An 8-year old isn’t educated enough to spiritualize away obvious meanings. It takes a Master’s Degree in Theology or a serious reading of several dead Germans to become stupid enough to try that.
The Eight-Year Hermeneutic’s Corollary #1: If the 8-year old is home-educated, the hermeneutic’s accuracy rate increases 518.42%.
The Neo-Christianized Hermeneutic:
Definition: If most Christians say it, it’s probably wrong.
The Neo-Christianized Hermeneutic Corollary #1: In most cases, the more a Christian quotes a verse, the less likely it’s in the Bible.