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The heart of hermeneutics (3)

It is critical that we keep clear the ultimate purpose of Scripture, to reveal the living God, his heart, his plan, his Son.

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTOR 108/Peter_Mead 29 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2023 10:11 h
Photo: [link]Alexandra Fuller[/link], Unsplash CC0.

This is the third part of a series about hermeneutics by Peter Mead. You can read the first part here and the second part here.



 



How does hermeneutics require love?



Last time we looked at John 5 and Jesus’ critique of the Jewish leadership. They were eminent Bible scholars, but something was missing. 



They could well have been an example to us in terms of observing the text, technically interpreting the text, and fastidiously applying the text. They thought that in the Scriptures they would find life. But they were missing the person revealed there.



[destacate]The Jewish leadership  thought that in the Scriptures they would find life.  But they were missing the person revealed there[/destacate] For the Jewish leadership, there was apparently confidence in the inductive process. 



However, their incurved hearts spelled the corruption of that process. They did not see the person, and the reason was a heart issue. 



Why is the heart so often left out of hermeneutics?



 



A more complete process



A complete approach to biblical study needs more than “look, learn, live.”  We need to put the heart back into our hermeneutics. 



What does the text say?  What does the text mean?  What should the text stir?  What difference should the text make? 



Look  — Learn  — Love  — Live



When we lose the sense that the biblical text is primarily revealing a person, and that the intent of the author is to stir the reader’s heart in response, then our approach will necessarily fall short. 



Even if we progress from “back then” and arrive at “for today,” we can end up with something stripped of its relational dynamic.



 



Principles and morals



In a process that is blind to the significance of the heart, some will end up with just an abiding theological principle.



[destacate]When we lose the sense that the biblical text is primarily revealing a person, then our approach will necessarily fall short [/destacate] This statement of truth and instruction is what remains after traversing the millennia from back then to our own time.  Others will end up with a “moral of the story.” 



That’s what people do with old stories.  Since the people are all dead in history, or figments of fiction that will soon fade from memory, at least there is a lasting lesson for us all. 



So, our children might enter the land of make-believe for an old tale, but what remains when the story ends and it is time to sleep? 



Well, the moral of the story is that we should be like the tortoise, or don’t speak to strangers who look like wolves or witches, or whatever.  These may well be good life lessons well worth learning.



And what of the people in the pew?  After entering the world of a Bible story in the sermon, they must then re-enter normal life.  As the story fades and present reality dawns, at least they can carry an abiding theological principle into their week.



 



The Bible is not a fable



But isn’t the Bible different?  Is not the goal of the Bible something more than divinely sanctioned and historically accurate Aesop’s fables? 



It is critical that we keep clear the ultimate purpose of Scripture,  to reveal the living God, his heart, his plan, his Son.



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. He blogs at Biblical Preaching


 

 


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