Hermeneutics matter. Hermeneutics is the study of the interpretation of a text. As a pastor, I spend many many hours per week practicing hermeneutics as I study the Bible. There are certain rules that govern how a text is to be understood- and this is true in all liberal arts disciplines which interpret the writings of men and women. Whether you are studying Shakespeare, the Apostle Paul, or JK Rowling, there are rules for how one reads a text.
Today, I learned I had to teach my young son a lesson in hermeneutics. Following my return from the study this afternoon I took two of my sons on a walk around our mountain. My young son, following me on our walk, carefully picked up 62 Realtor cards that read, “Allow me to give you my two cents.” There were two pennies taped on every card.
To my son, who is not trained in hermeneutics, this card was to be interpreted as a personal promise to him. The “you” in the text was him, not the owner of the driveway in front of which the Realtor placed the card.
Please consider this fact as you endeavor to study the Bible as a student of the Word. There are rules of interpretation that govern the way that the Word of God is to be interpreted. Context, original audience, authorship, grammatical structure, genre of writing, and a host of other things govern how we MUST understand the Scriptures… otherwise you may end up with a handful of promises that don’t belong to you.
Now to retrace our steps… two cents at a time.