The Relationship Between Hermeneutics And Other Fields Of Biblical Studies such as; Canon, Textual And Historical Criticisms, Exegesis, Exposition, Biblical theology, and Systematic theology can not be over-emphasised.
The Relationship Between Hermeneutics, Canon, Textual And Historical Criticisms, Exegesis etc.
The Study of Canonicity, which distinguishes between books that bear the stamp of divine inspiration and those that do not, is the area of biblical study that conceptually comes before all others. the canonization process was one in history where the Holy Spirit led the Church to acknowledge that certain books bore the stamp of divine authority. In books of General Biblical introduction or Canon of the Old or New Testament, you can read about the historical process by which some books were accepted into the canon and others rejected.
The field of biblical study that conceptually follows the development of the canon is Textual Criticism, sometimes referred to as lower criticism. Textual criticism is concerned with ascertaining the original wording of a text as it came from the author. Since inspiration extends only to the originál manuscripts of our Bible. Textual criticism is necessary because our modern Hebrew and Greek Bibles lack original manuscripts and the copies we do have differ from one another. How could we trust them? The translations of our English Bibles are transliterated from original manuscripts, therefore this is obviously a crucial question.
The science of textual criticism answers this question and bridges the gap By Comparing ancient manuscripts, ancient versions, quotations, or allusions to scripture in the Church Fathers or anything else which may possibly bear on the text, by carefully discriminating judgment sift, Conflicting testimony, weigh the evidence of all kinds and thus endeavours to determine the true meaning of every doubtful text.
The third field of biblical study is known as historical or higher criticism. Higher criticism seeks to discover and authenticate authorship and date to be correct, the historical circumstances surrounding its composition, the authenticity of its content and its literary units. It should be obvious to us that there is nothing to in the utilization of either of these approaches. In fact, if the Bible is what it claims to be and appears to be, we should fear no investigation; for Such inquiry will only demonstrate the truth of the word and prove to be a powerful apologetic.
Only after a study of Canonicity, Textual criticism and Historical criticism is the scholar ready to do exegesis.
-Exegesis is the application of the principles of hermeneutics to arrive at a correct understanding of the text.
-Hermeneutics aims to establish the principles and rules which are needed to unfold the sense of what is written.
-Systematic Theology organizes the biblical data in a logical rather than historical manner. It attempts to place together all the information on a given topic (e.g. the nature of God, the ministry of angels) so that we may understand the totality of God’s revelation to us on that topic. The systematic theologian does his work in a logical framework that he himself has created.
Note these points;
• The study of the canon determines the inspired books.
• The study of the text determines the wording of the books.
•The study of historical criticism gives us the framework of the books.
• Hermeneutics gives us the rules for the interpretation of the books.
• Exegesis is the application of those rules made by hermeneutics to the books.
•Exposition brings the true meaning of the message of the past to the need of the modern man.
• Biblical theology shows the reason why
something was written as well as the content of what was Written
• Systematic theology arranges biblical data into topics.
But while we are careful to distinguish hermeneutics from other branches of biblical studies, we should not fail to note that the science of interpretation must essentially depend On exegesis for the maintenance and illustration of its principles and rules. As the full grammar of a language establishes its principles by sufficient examples, a science of hermeneutics needs to verify and illustrate its principles by examples of their practical application. Its province is not merely to define principles and methods, but also to exemplify and illustrate them.
Rules to Determine the Meaning of Words.
1. Seek the original meaning of a word. Modern usage of it is meaningless. One must see the words strictly from the viewpoint of the writers.
2. Each word in a given instance has but one meaning
3. The definition of the writer is always the best.
4. Of a word with many meanings, determine which meaning the author intended, ie;
a. Use that shade of meaning in use at the time of the writing.
b. Look at the context where the word is found.
c. Observe closely the purpose of the writer or the general scope of the writing.
d. Use comparison by consulting similar or parallel passages where the same word occurs,
especially passages in the same book.
5. Recognize some words as having a specific Biblical meaning (“Good news,” conversion, saint, church, deacon, elders, apostle, fellowship, repent, faith, etc.).
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HERMENEUTICS, EXEGESIS AND EISEGESIS
Therefore, Biblical hermeneutics is the science and art of properly interpreting the Bible. The goal of hermeneutics is to make rules for interpretation. To interpret means to correctly draw Out the meaning, the author’s intended meaning not an imaginary one (an imaginary one comes from eisegesis). The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants. Exegesis on the other hand literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text in total reliance on the Holy Spirit and those rules made by hermeneutics.
A summarised List Of the Rules For Biblical Interpretation
1. The Definitional rule:
What does the word mean? An interpreter must carefully adhere to the words’ intended meaning. In order to ensure that the English translation’s meaning is understood, it is frequently necessary to consult a Hebrew/English or Greek/English lexicon. Define your terms, and then adhere to them.
2. The Rule Of Usage:
The majority of the New Testament was written in a Greco-Roman (and, to a lesser extent, Jewish) cultural context. If one’s interpretations are tainted by preconceived assumptions and cultural biases, it is useless to interpret a large number of phrases and historical events.
3. The CONTEXT Rule:
You must interpret each word you read in the context of the words that came before and after it. The Mormon practice of employing 1 Cor. 8:5b as a “proof text” of polytheism is a good illustration. But a straightforward reading of the entire passage shows that Paul is not advocating polytheistic religion.
4. The HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Rule:
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. States that the interpretation must have some familiarity with the culture and way of life in the era in which the Scripture was written. The true intention of the Scripture can be understood if the interpreter can keep in mind what the author had in mind.
5. The LOGIC Rule:
The Bible appeals to human reason because it was given to us in the form of human language. It should be understood using grammatical analysis and language laws, just like we would with any other volume. Interpreters without the honed experience of logic may have incorrect ideas about implication and proof.
6. The PRECEDENT Rule:
It states that we must not alter a word’s accepted usage by creating a new one for which there is no precedent. In Acts 17:10–12, the Bereans were said to be noble because they examined the Scriptures.
7. The Rule of UNITY:
The Trinity doctrine is a prime instance of this. It is not explicitly taught in any one verse, it is compatible with what the Bible as a whole teaches. The Holy Spirit and Jesus are referred to individually as God, yet the Scriptures elsewhere teach there is only one God.
8. The INFERENCE RULE:
The inference is the extrapolation of one hypothesis from another. When their veracity is supported by appropriate and adequate evidence, such inferential truths or propositions are sufficiently binding. In Matthew, Jesus applied this principle to convince the sceptic Sadducees that the dead do indeed rise from the grave.
Note that; By correctly applying these eight rules today, any interpreter can help prevent misunderstandings and potentially put an end to many of the conflicts that, tragically, still haunt Christianity. Note that the guidance of the Holy Spirit cannot be replaced by principles and rules.
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