Hermeneutical Thoughts

Four important qualities of Hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation).

1) Hermeneutics requires humility — Biblical interpretation requires humility. God is the one telling the story. Sacred Scripture is God’s story-telling of history via a divine-historical text. We don’t own the story. It is a gift. This means we should handle the divine-story-text with humility and gratitude.

2) Hermeneutics is quasi-scientific  — Scripture is not an accident. God decided that men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would write down in the format of a divine-historical-text the history which is the “external medium of God’s redemptive plan” (William DiPuccio, The Interior Sense of Scripture: The Sacred Hermeneutic of John W. Nevin, p. 91). This included semantics and syntax and grammar and words and people and narratives and historical settings and types and figures: the men inspired by the Holy Spirit that wrote down the divine-historical-text used those things as the raw materials for the divine revelation of Sacred Scripture, and Biblical interpretation aims to understand those raw materials. Understanding is not accidental, it takes effort, skill, and serious study, but that is not all that it takes — it takes much more. Since interpretation is also an art (see next point), Hermeneutics is quasi-scientific.

3) Hermeneutics is an art — Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, the Father and the Son’s breath-voice-spirit-singer. Accordingly, Scripture is a “musical” book that is rich in symbols and imagery, rhythm and repetition. Therefore, interpreting the Bible is also an art. Why? Because it isn’t enough to know all the words to the song, you also have to know the tune. And Scripture has a tune.

4) Hermeneutics is Spirit-led — Sacred Scripture is a Spirit-book. Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit. And only those who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, those that have been given eyes to see and ears to hear the written God-song of God’s divine-story-text know the “tune” of Scripture. (They know the “tune” because they’ve been regenerated, they have a new Father who teaches them songs of their ancestors — the “tune” sang by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.) The Bride of Christ is the Church: together her members sing the “tune” of Sacred Scripture, which was taught to her by the beautiful Holy Spirit.