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hermeneutics presented to iserve africa apprenticeship team on 3 rd march 2009 by kepha nyandega n.
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  1. HERMENEUTICS Presented to iServe Africa ApprenticeshipTeam on 3rd March 2009By: Kepha Nyandega Hermeneutics

  2. Introduction • What have you learnt in IBS? • What expectations do you have in this session? Hermeneutics

  3. Outline • Introduction • What is Hermeneutics? • Why Hermeneutics? • General Hermeneutics • Special Hermeneutics • Requirements for Effective Bible interpretation • Conclusion Hermeneutics

  4. Introduction: What is Hermeneutics? • A technical word from Greek meaning to explain, interpret or translate. • It therefore refers to the science and art of biblical interpretation. • To interpret means to understand the right or intended meaning of a certain word or phrase. And not merely unique meaning • Exegesis : studying a text in its context to establish the original intended meaning. • This is opposed to eisegesis – imposing one’s meaning into a text • Hermeneutics is scriptural! Luke 24: 27 Hermeneutics

  5. Introduction…. (Contd) Why Hermeneutics? • Interpretation is a basic skill in life. • Bible pose problems, such as: • Bible composition: 66 bks by abt 40 authors and diff styles/ genres • Time Gap • The cultural gap • Geographical Gap • Language Gap • The nature of the scriptures themselves: the bible is both divine and human • To guard against error in doctrine and practice as well as apply God’s word in our lives and encourage growth. Hermeneutics

  6. General Hermeneutics Refers to general guidelines to interpreting any text • Determine the context&Content of the text Context is the setting or background of a message eg a statement like ‘I am going home’ may mean differently depending on the context. What are some possible meanings? Content is the message being communicated ie the meaning of words and phrases. • Words & concepts only makes sense in a context • A text out of a context is a pretext • Two critical contexts are: Literary Context and historical context Hermeneutics

  7. General Hermeneutics .. Contd. Literary Context Historical Context Each Bible Book has its history in terms of: • The time and the culture of the author and his readers • The occasion and purpose of the book. Text Use the 7FFQs to determine these contexts Hermeneutics

  8. Special Hermeneutics • Refers to specific skills required for each genre • All Bible books fall in any of the following genres: • Narrative: describe events, people and report dialogue and teaching eg the first 17 books of OT and the first 5 Books of NT • Discourse: An argument persuading people to change their behavior or belief eg prophets and Epistles • Poetry and Wisdom:Records testimonies or feelings of the writer eg Job, Psalms, proverbs, etc. • Apocalyptic:records visions, dreams, or special terminology, symbols and other vivid imagery, secrets of God’s plan for history and the coming triumph e.g., Revelation, parts of Daniel and Ezekiel. Others are Matt 24= Mrk 13 = Lk 21 Hermeneutics

  9. Interpreting Narratives • Narratives simply tell what happened not what ought to have happened • Narratives are static and temporal ie they don’t tell all hence the need to understand the context i.e. background information (behind the scenes) • To interpret a narrative, seek for the full story to get the plot, setting, characters, authorship, audience, theme, and style (language, expressions, words, etc) Hermeneutics

  10. Interpreting Narratives … contd. • A narrative is an episode in an ongoing story i.e. Meaning is lost if any narrative is read independent of what is going on • Every narrative has to fit three levels: • God’s overall redemptive history plan • God’s level with Israel/ church • The level of the narrative as an episode • Every narrative has own character; the chief character is God even where he is not mentioned like Esther. What is he doing? Hermeneutics

  11. Interpreting Parables • A parable is an ordinary story meant to communicate a spiritual or moral truth. Its usually employs a particular event in the past tense for a present situation without direct and obvious comparison. • Key Principle in interpreting parable: • Examine the setting –shows why parable is said • What is the main point of the parable? • Is there examination/ application given? • You can use the following methodology Hermeneutics

  12. Interpreting Parables … Contd. • Mark out details that have individual theological meaning and those that merely add colour to the story • Check context at three levels: • The larger context within the parable is found • The parable itself • The historical background of the details of the story • NT parables has 3 audience: the crowd, the Pharisees & scribes and the disciples • Determine your reference points within the dynamics of the story- this is the power of parables • Compare other gospel accounts for various emphasis. Mark out any repetition Hermeneutics

  13. Interpreting an epistle • NT Epistles fall in the following pattern: • Sender- name is usually given eg Paul • Recipient – given plus short description • Greetings • Thanks giving or prayer • Body of the epistle – reason of writing • Closing commands or remarks (may miss) • Conclusion- greetings to others and parting words Hermeneutics

  14. Interpreting an epistle … contd. • Get the context of writing for correct application. (Where can you get historical context of the epistles?) • Differentiate the normative and the relative. What principle is behind the relative command (local not universal) • Get the argument presented by author and reasons given & how they are presented Hermeneutics

  15. Interpreting Poetry Psalms • Note the strophic/ stanza patterns of the poem or hymn • Group parallel lines • Study the metaphorical language used • Note historical background of the psalm • Study the psalm in terms of its type eg messianic psalms in terms of their historical purpose before noting their historical importance • Study the psalm as a whole before drwaing conclusion Hermeneutics

  16. Interpreting Poetry … Contd. Wisdom (Proverbs, Job, Ecc., and riddles, allegories, etc) • Note the form of wisdom eg war cry, messianic, lament or hymn/ praise song • Is the context important • Is hyperbole used? Any other device? • Obscure passages must be cross culturally applied to analogous situations today Hermeneutics

  17. Interpreting Apocalypse Forms & Characteristics • Uses largely dreams and visions • An individual sees events as God unravel them • Usually mediated eg by an angel to help the in understanding of the seer • Celestial beings and demonic powers are introduced as God’s messangers and agents against God respectively • Events concern the future as an end to present realities. • Interpretation must consider people’s concern at the moment and eschatological concerns • Dreams and visions as well as symbolism and imagery are used Hermeneutics

  18. Interpreting Apocalypse … contd. Common themes • God’s sovereign reign in chaotic world • Protection of God’s people culminating in catastrophic judgment of the wicked and supernatural deliverance of God’s people • Temporal nature of the current affairs and victory of God and his people Hermeneutics

  19. Interpreting Apocalypse … Contd. Purpose • To inspire hope and comfort in times of suffering and persecution that prevailing conditions will surely end and God’s reign of justice and righteousness will come. God give his prophetic time table to comfort his people • To encourage consistent faithfulness and obedience to God in times of trial and warn against apostasy Hermeneutics

  20. Interpreting Apocalypse … Contd. • Symbolism were easily understood by the original audience and not their enemy • The general message is usually clear from the context. Focus more on the general message rather than the meaning of each symbol used. Don’t pursue minors at the expense of the major • Unfamiliar things are used in real life to create mental pictures that gives the message better • Refer to respectable Bible dictionary and commentary where need be Hermeneutics

  21. Requirements for Effective Bible Interpretation The Interpreter • Being regenerate 2nd Cor 4:4, Eph 2:1 • Reverence and humility to God’s word. Avoid the ‘author game’ • Prayerful attitude and willingness to obey. It is of no benefit to know more unless you first do something with what you know already – Selwyn Hughes • Dependence on the Holy Spirit. • Sound judgment and reason. Hermeneutics

  22. Requirements for Effective Bible interpretation … Contd. Tools for interpretation • Heart determined to study God’s word guided by the Spirit. • A good bible translation or different version if possible • Good reliable bible helps e.g. bible dictionary, commentary, atlas, etc • Writing material • Good grasp of the bible language if you can Hermeneutics

  23. Test Your Interpretation • Natural sense- the rule of simplicity. Take the Bible simply first unless it contradict or does not make sense (interpret as a figure of speech if doesn't) • Original sense- the rule of history. Seek for the author’s intended meaning • General sense: the rule of harmony. The Bible does not contradict itself. • Distinguish between moral and ceremonial laws. • Differentiate the descriptive from the prescriptive Hermeneutics

  24. Conclusion The process of understanding the scripture may appear hard and in deed it is. Thankfully, God does not expect us to be perfect overnight. We are asked to do our best to present ourselves as those approved, workmen who do not need to be ashamed, but those who correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2: 15). We need to soak the process with prayers for it may be hard and dry without the water of the Spirit. Hermeneutics

  25. Reference • Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. 1991. • Terry, Milton S. Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. 2nd ed. Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. 1974. • Fee, Gordon D. and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding the Bible. London: Scripture Union. 1989. Hermeneutics