HERMENEUTICS: WHAT ON EARTH…?
My father served in the Royal Navy. He used to jokingly say that in order of importance there is the Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral, Rear Admiral, Commodore, Captain, Commander, Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant, Midshipman, Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer, Leading Seaman, Ordinary Seaman. Then there is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing…then there is an Army General! We all got a kick out of his hierarchy.
Funny how the cycle of life turns. I find myself making the same kind of tongue-in-cheek comparison: first there is hermeneutics, then there is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Then there is proclamation, evangelism, discipleship, prophecy, etc., etc.
Hermeneutics – though it may sound like a disease – is defined as“the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.”
It is a method or theory of interpretation. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that the whole demeanor and veracity of Christianity depends upon it. It is the foundation stone on which the entire enterprise we call theology is formed. Get it wrong and the structure of faith will crumble. It is, in fact, that important.
At The Word Is Out, we affirm St. Paul’s declaration that “all scripture is inspired by God.” What we understand by that is that the Bible in its entirety is “God-breathed” (the literal Greek word for “inspired”). Written with all the idiosyncrasies of human beings but infused with the breath of God, the Bible is given a particular life distinct from all other literary works. As such it is fundamentally a unique document and, without question, the most important collection of books in the whole world. Being inspired, it carries the imprimatur of God. The message contained in its words, its grammatical construction, its intrinsic structure, its particular genres and terminology of translation is reliable, truthful and an accurate reflection of what God wants to convey to the people of earth. Within the covers of our Bible lies the heart of God, the story of His dealings with humankind, the means to salvation and the purpose of our existence. Nothing comes close to matching its import. It is altogether incomparable.
Our task at The Word Is Out is always to facilitate its exploration, to shed light on its meaning and to make it more comprehensible to those who read it to the end that all might know the heart of the God who has breathed it into existence. I am grateful for your partnership in this, the most vital mission of modern time. If ever our weary world needs what The Word Is Out has to offer, it is now.