May 24, 2022

Hermeneutics

SOME THEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

LCA Statement – A Consensus On Scripture (1984)

Australian Lutheran College Resources

On the ALC page above – please see Hebart’s ‘Theology Of The Word’

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF HERMENEUTICS

  • 1. Pray for the Holy Spirit – without this you cannot do it
  • 2. Christ is on every page – notice him – relate it to him.
  • 3. The centre of scripture is the cross – all meaning comes from and relates to it.
  • 4. Scripture speaks in two ways: Law and Gospel:
    • Take note of whether things are law or gospel.
    • Remember that the law always accuses.
    • Never turn Gospel into Law:
    • by making grace into something we must earn
    • by talking about grace as something we should work for
    • by talking of grace as something we must be worthy of
    • by following the gospel of grace with ‘should, ought, must…’
    • Seek to see how grace applies and re-frames every word of scripture.
    • Gospel must predominate (win).
  • 5. Scripture interprets scripture – if it’s unclear then look for the explanation in scripture.
  • 6. Pay attention to grammar – don’t twist things by changing verbs, subjects/objects etc!
  • 7. Honour the proper meaning of words and don’t attempt to change them.
    • Go first with the obvious popular usage of words (don’t use a Bible dictionary and pick the meaning you like best or that is most interesting!!!)
    • Don’t try to be clever and find unintended mystical deeper meanings
    • But be aware that sometimes there are deeper meanings (Eg. Philemon 11).
  • 8. Honour the historical circumstance.
  • 9. Read texts in context!
  •  10. Don’t get too smart:
    • Stick to one meaning at a time with words
    • Don’t try to make up new doctrines (stick to ones in the Apostle’s Creed)
    • If you find something YOU have never seen before that’s fine.
    • But if you find something new (a code, hidden meaning, secret idea) that no one has ever seen before you are most definitely on the wrong track

HERMENEUTIC PROCESS

1. Reflect on and pray for the hearers

2. Consider the context for the message

3. Identify your focus from the text

FOCUS

1. A point

2. A theme

3. A question

4. Or landing pad!

You should be able to actually state this focus in a short sentence (10 words or less).

Sometimes the focus will become the catch-cry or even title of a message.

We need to work hard on focus.  There are other methodologies, but for most preachers and speakers this is an essential tool and all new or inexperienced preachers should discipline themselves to try this for a time.  Sometimes I use other approaches, but for a period each year I force myself to work with a focus and function every week.  If you launch into a sermon without a point, theme, or landing pad, listeners will not know what you said.  If you lack focus, they will find a focus, their minds will drift or latch onto and extemporise on something you said incidentally.  They will hear something – but often not at all what you intended – it may be better than what you said, but it won’t be good communication.

FUNCTION

This may sound like a lot of work, but it really helps to have a clear idea of what might HAPPEN for the hearers as a result of the word!

A function statement says in a very short sentence what outcomes you expect from this word. If you have no idea what you’re aiming for, then this may be a helpful way to go. Whenever I’m unsure where I am going I stop and work out a “FUNCTION STATEMENT”.