This is the post I have been wanting to write for a long time about interpreting the Bible. I think it is useful reading both for those who believe the Bible is God’s Word and those who remain unconvinced. I think sometimes Christians like myself forget what a big thing it is to say “God says” XYZ, and then quote Bible verses for it. Everything we say about what the Bible says is an interpretation of what it says. So how do we properly interpret what it is saying, so we can get at the message the Bible is communicating rather than the message we want to put into it?
In some previous posts and comment threads, questions have arisen as to how it is that we arrive at interpretations of particular verses – how do we decide what they say? I plan on doing a short series of posts with some basic hermeneutical and exegetical guidelines to help shed some light on that process – but for now, check out what the internet monk has to say. Here’s a little of it:
In all seriousness, evangelicals have a remarkable problem when it comes to treating the scriptures with respect. It’s astounding how many Christians tend to act as if any thought that comes into their head pertaining to the Bible is de facto true because they believe the Spirit is guiding them. If your use of the Bible were like handling a gun, you might have shot several people by now. Put that thing down and learn some basics on using the weapon.
Click here to read the rest. I would recommend different books than the iMonk when it comes to learning about hermeneutics but I think he has a lot of good stuff to say about the importance of realizing just what we are doing when we go at interpreting scripture. Understanding Biblical interpretation is important both for those who accept and those who do not accept the Bible as something special. Those who criticize the message of the Bible while not understanding how to read it are as mistaken as those who use the Bible as a club claiming divine authority all the while using terrible hermeneutical and exegetical processes.