Friday, February 29, 2008

Introduction to Hermeneutics, Part 1 of 4: Reasons


The following material is adapted from what I am teaching in the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply ministry.
 

WHY WE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE

 

The Nature of the Bible

 

God has revealed Himself in creation (general revelation) and in the Bible (special revelation).  The Bible is needed to understand the revelation of God in creation and to understand His character, our identity as people made in His image yet who are sinners deserving eternal punishment, the redemption accomplished by Christ, the duty to repent and believe the Gospel, and how to live as children of God.  God has spoken, and has given us a Book.

 

The Bible is God's Word and it – not man's changing opinion – gives life (1 Pet. 1:23) and gives people the knowledge needed for salvation in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:15).

 

Observe what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) teaches about the Bible:

 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable

            For       teaching,

For       reproof,

For       correction, and

For       training in righteousness

so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

The Bible does not need to be "made" relevant – it is already relevant, and we need to know it. 

 

The Bible contains no errors (Matt. 22:29).  It is trustworthy and reliable.

 

As God's Word, the Bible comes with the authority of God.  What it teaches us to believe, we must believe.  What it teaches us to do, we must obey.  Therefore, we ought to know what it teaches us to believe and do if our faith and practice are to be in submission to the authority of God.

 

The Command of God

 

God commands preachers to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:1-2), not their opinions or ideas.

 

God calls us to be experts in this Book.  You don't have to be an expert in culture, sports, psychology, or economics – but a preacher is called to know the Bible well so that he can rightly handle God's Word (2 Tim. 2:15).

 

The Need of Preachers and People

 

We need God's Word for our own souls and so that we can share it faithfully and fruitfully with those to whom we minister (1 Tim. 4:16).  Our preaching only has God's authority if it is grounded in a faithful presentation of God's message in the Bible.  Otherwise, we become the authority.  Sound hermeneutics is the foundation for sound preaching.  Like it or not, you are an example to others.  Our sermons and lessons need to model sound hermeneutics for others to learn from and learn by, because they will learn their hermeneutics from the preachers they listen to.

 

Upcoming posts:

PART 2 - Prerequisites for Bible Study

PART 3 - Tools for Bible Study

PART 4 - Approaches to Bible Study

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