A Book to trust #21 Biblical hermeneutics and Keys to truth

In this world lots of ideas are going. Some of them are the opposite of the other.

As the point where three of the world’s major religions converge, Israel’s history is one of the richest and most complex in the world.

Archaeologists and researchers have done their best to discover the secrets of the people who lived in that Middle-East region for centuries and had their gods or God to whom they brought worship. Most of those people are taken by a microbe willing to uncover ancient facts. For them

Thinking is writing, writing is wiring, planing is writing. Writing is a long process and its important to include all the aspects of it.

Those looking for the truth, even when not trained scholars would not hesitate to use international renowned reference works, encyclopedias, secular sources, and reputable books and documents. There are still many other things to be found, but we may be sure all over the world can be found serious people wanting to work together with others to find more data.

To stop researching our Faith would be a big mistake. If we have “The Truth” than
there is nothing to fear from such investigations. If anything, our research should do nothing, except to strengthen our faith and in some cases to bring us to the realization that some of our views are outdated or wrong and that gives us the opportunity to investigate further and update our beliefs and doctrines. {Researching outside of the Bible – is it safe}

Too many KJVonly people do forget that out of the information given in the Bible we must also take into account the secular research which has also helped many who love Jehovah to recognize spurious scriptures that were added after the Bible was written.

When noting that the word “trinity” did not exist in the Bible, God’s people turned to secular sources outside of the Bible to investigate and find that the trinity and many other unbiblical doctrines were adopted from the pagans by Rome and engrafted upon the Christian Faith without any approval by God or his Holy spirit. The list goes on and on – with all the many things that Jehovah’s people have learned from sources outside of the Bible – in their search of truth. {“Researching outside of the Bible – is it safe: Make sure all things hold fast to what is fine.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Hermeneutics comes from the classical Greek, the word hermeneuo,
which often means “to explain, to interpret.”

KJV-only people, like Vake Biblia, do not seem to believe archaeology holds some of the keys to truth. For those stubborn men who think the 17th century writers were infallible, the King James Bible might seem the only right faultless, foolproof bible translation of all other language translations. They first of all forget that the Divine Creator Designed His Word so as to be impervious to human incompetence, error, or misuse. They also do not see those people at that time were more limited in knowledge than the Bible Students, Bible archaeologists, historians and linguists today and could just as today’s people make some errors. For those KJV-only people it might perhaps even not be possible to write a comprehensive and honest history of ancient Israel. They also forget that for as long as there have been Biblical texts, there have been Biblical hermeneutics, or Biblical interpretations. One definition of hermeneutics (given by Bernhard W. Anderson in a piece he wrote for Bible Review) is that Biblical hermeneutics are

“modes of [Bible] interpretation[s].”

In another Bible Review article, James A. Sanders offered a Biblical hermeneutics definition as

“interpretive lens[es]”

through which one reads the Bible.

Going a step further, the Merriam-Webster dictionary extends its hermeneutics definition to include not only the methods or principles of the interpretations but also the study of those very Biblical interpretations. In short, the hermeneutics of the Bible are the many ways people read the Bible.

Blue Collar Apologist” writes

Hermeneutics, a strange word with a lot of rules. This is the science of interpreting a text and like any science there are rules. It is, however, also an art, and like any art the more one does it the better they get at it. {An intro to Biblical interpretation}

He recognises

As a reader of a text there are both presuppositions and responsibilities to read the text for all it is worth. As there is a subject:object distinction between the scientist and the object of study in question, or between a historian and their artifacts, so too there is a certain relationship when a reader approaches a text, whether it be poetry, literature or otherwise. {An intro to Biblical interpretation}

Those going to translate the ancient scrolls do know their responsibility against the Word of God. But there are also responsibilities which come into play by the study of the Word of God.

How does the reader reconstruct what an author meant without becoming a part of the text itself?
Even the historian’s craft, to reconstruct an ancient or recent history, involves becoming part of the history in question. How does one differentiate between the history in question and the historian?
Can we be positivists when it comes to any object of study?
Indeed, Hume’s thesis that only self evident truths can be admitted into the query is as self defeating in science as it is in historical inquisition. It is here I think what science offers, as a method of testing, is peer evaluation/multiple attestation, and it is apropos to note that the Bible offers this as a criterion of testability, as well, when it says a testimony must be weighed on the account of two or more witnesses. Taking into consideration both the material evidence, as well as the intellectual witnesses may be as close as we, the inquirer, can get to knowing the thing itself and factoring out the element of the interpreter. {An intro to Biblical interpretation}

Today ‘Modern hermeneutics’ includes both verbal and non-verbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, and pre-understandings.  The study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles of interpretation for all forms of communication, nonverbal and verbal.

Biblical hermeneutics even take place within the Biblical text itself. In the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, the authors of the Psalms and the prophets often referred back to the Torah and incorporated their own interpretations and understanding of the text from their social locations. Jesus also looked at how the people from the temple gave their interpretation of certain words and letters from the temple scrolls. This master teacher also warned for “mosquito poisoners” or nigglers, those who only viewed texts literally and could not read between the lines, something we notice lots of KJV-only people can not do too. In their category we can find lots of pettifoggers of people who move heaven and earth to do some faultfinding and niggling.

In the years leading up to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E., several different Jewish groups had risen to prominence, including the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. Although they were all Jewish, each group had very different Biblical hermeneutics, looking at a different way for interpretation of those letters of the scrolls, which, in certain words, are provided with points. Many of those (ancient) Jewish scholars looked at the  interpretation of the letters in a word according to their numerical value and checked if a word could be divided it into two or more words, and gave their interpretation according a word its consonantal form or according to its vocalization. An other method by which the Talmud explores the meaning of scripture is by the interpretation of a word by transposing its letters or by changing its vowels and by the logical deduction of a halakah from a Scriptural text or from another law.

Throughout the times by Jewish theorists as well as by Christian theorists brought lots of different ideas to the forefront. The great world religions that originated in the Middle East — Judaism, Christianity, Christendom, and Islam or Mohammedism — all insisted on the unity of humanity, a theme encapsulated in the story of Adam and Eve, but had very different ideas about the definition of what happened to the soul after death for example.  For some a soul was an individual, a misogamist, a mortal, a person, somebody, someone or just a living being or a human being, whilst others felt more for the Greco-Roman philosophy of something extra from the human body that went away from it after death. Such idea gave them more comfort with their hope of an afterlife.

Also proper temple sacrifice and the importance of studying the law differed among these groups because of their varying approaches. Christianity also began as a Jewish sect (The Way) , but as Jesus’ followers developed their own hermeneutics in relation to the law and the role of the messiah, it became a distinct religion, certainly when there came a split with the ones who agreed with Greco-Roman tradition its three-godhead and created Christendom with its Holy Trinity.

Today there are many hermeneutics applied to the Bible. These methodologies range from historical-critical, to post-colonial, to rhetorical, to cultural-critical, to ecological to canonical-critical. These are all types of Biblical hermeneutics.

Part of the reason that so many hermeneutics exist is that interpreters have different goals. For example, if you want to understand how Moses’s life in the wilderness differed from daily life in the ancient Levant, you would use an archaeological/anthropological hermeneutic. However, if you want to understand the gender politics between Miriam and Moses in the wilderness, you would use a feminist or womanist approach to the text.

Different hermeneutics lead to different types of interpretations. Cheryl Exum famously wrote two articles on Exodus 1-2:10 focusing on the women in the narrative. Her conclusions in these articles appear contradictory, but that is because she used two different hermeneutics (rhetorical and feminist) and each method focused on different elements of the text, which led to different interpretations of the text. {Ellen White, Ph.D. – Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College – Defining Biblical Hermeneutics – How Biblical interpretations, or hermeneutics of the Bible, affect the way we read the scriptures}

Many nitpickers in Christendom try to make use of their narrow-minded view to discredit or even attack others. In Christendom we can find lots of hypercritics who love to argue or find fault over trivial matters or minor concerns or to cavil. Those quibblers mostly stick to one version and reject all other ideas or translations. they reject the possible knowledge of all those who tried to do a serious translation job. Those KJV-only people should better come to see that the amount of people working together in such bible translation committee regularly are coming from different backgrounds and different faiths. As such for a Christian Bible translation we can find on the committee next to christians (Trinitarian as well as Non-Trinitarian), Jews and Jeshuaists and in some cases even Muslims. In many cases it is also the work of a team going up to more than 100 co-workers.

When we look at some English versions we may see how many people tried to create what sort of type Bible translation.

Often it are people who believe they may work on the Word of God, Which is able to bring over what it wants to say. Therefore they do believe that Scripture itself can interpret Scripture and that the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph should or better must be derived from the context.   Being with many in one team they count on it that everybody aims for the same thing, bringing over those ancient words into a language understandable for the generation they are writing or translating for. They also often follow the “Hermeneutic Loop” and keep in mind all the idioms or ways of sayings at the time the words were written down and as such being it very important to translate it in such manner that what the author meant is transferred, conveyed or translated by the new or other language to serve as a medium of transmission for the thought meant by the ancient writer.

 

In the team of the Bible Translation Committees one mostly also find people from different disciplines, language, history, archaeology, etc.. Even archaeology is a Biblical hermeneutic. The knowledge of cultures is most important to come to know how they lived, worked and thought. By studying the remains of ancient people and how they lived, and comparing their finds to the texts, archaeologists are able to offer exciting new interpretations.

For example, the sacrifice of Isaac is one of the most interpreted stories throughout history. The disturbing narrative about a God who orders his follower to sacrifice his son, but ultimately withdraws this command at the final moment, has caused great discomfort in readers for several reasons. Many of these reasons revolve around the modern revulsion regarding child sacrifice. The world of archaeology provides insight into the practice (or non-practice) of sacrifice in the ancient world, as well as the hilltop altars, which appear in the story. (For more on this topic see “Infants Sacrificed? The Tale Teeth Tell” by Patricia Smith in the July/August 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. ) {Ellen White, Ph.D. – Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College – Defining Biblical Hermeneutics – How Biblical interpretations, or hermeneutics of the Bible, affect the way we read the scriptures}

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Preceding

A Book to trust #1 Background book for debate

A Book to trust #2 Book of Truth

A Book to trust #3 Creation and Creator

A Book to trust #4 Cause of Being and Truth

A Book to trust #5 Words directed to create order

A Book to trust #6 True God and true words

A Book to trust #7 Heavenly Father not withholding knowledge

A Book to trust #8 Father of the universe wanting His creatures to know Him

A Book to trust #9 Consistency

A Book to trust #10 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #1 Old Testament

A Book to trust #11 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #2 New Testament

A Book to trust #12 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #3 Material evidence to survive

A Book to trust #13 Books for education and adjustment

A Book to trust #14 Writings to show The God #1 The I Am that I Am

A Book to trust #15 Writings to show The God #2 Importance of Being

A Book to trust #16 Biblical archaeology vs Historical science or study #1 Flat or round earth

A Book to trust #17 Biblical archaeology vs Historical science or study #2 Relevance of Biblical record

A Book to trust #18 Available in many languages #1

A Book to trust #19 Available in many languages #2

A Book to trust #20 Available in many languages #3

Next

A Book to trust #22 Confirmed writings and Tampered books

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Additional reading

  1. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  2. Bible in the first place #1/3
  3. Position of the Bible researcher

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Related

  1. What is Hermeneutics?
  2. Why King James Bible Only?
  3. There is King James only – and then theres hardcore King James only
  4. The Mailbag: What is KJV-Onlyism, and Is It Biblical?
  5. For King James Only Folk — From the Babylon Bee (satire)
  6. KJV-only Advocates and Textual Criticism Videos
  7. Hitchens KJV-Only?
  8. KJV Only? We asked a pastor
  9. Why The King James Bible? Outline For Your Visitation Bible
  10. Why the King James Bible is Better than the Originals
  11. King James Only–Refuted
  12. 8 Questions to Help You Understand and Apply the Bible
  13. Piper, on Reading the Bible Supernaturally
  14. Christianity vs. Biblicism – Brian Zahnd
  15. An intro to Biblical interpretation
  16. How to Read the Bible Well: An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics
  17. Finding Pearls
  18. Evaluating Faith
  19. Seminary Diaries: Learning and Unlearning
  20. “From a Literal well to a well of eternal water: a theological reading of the Samaritan woman’s meeting with Jesus
  21. What It Means To Be The Light of the World
  22. An intro to Biblical interpretation
  23. How to Read the Bible Well: An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics
  24. A Hermeneutic From Below
  25. How Should We Interpret the Book of Revelation?
  26. 5 Tips for Reading the Book of Revelation
  27. Archaeologists are digging up bible stories
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