In my hermanutics class, yesterday we open the wonderful door of context. Often the rightly claimed core of Hermenutics is described in three key areas:
CONTEXT - CONTEXT - CONTEXT.
When we approach a text of scripture, we are apt to immediately begin to read it from our own culture, our own experience, and our own ideals. This is dangerous, because the bible was written in a specific place, inside a specific culture, to specific people, but it has universal & eternal application. The essential nature of how we approach the word of God should be with humble hearts, sharp minds, and with the attitude that God will speak, not an attitude that we are reading to add our opinion.
This little diagram shows how we start from the passage and work our way outward to finally incorporate it on the entirety of scripture. As we study the specific, we must never lose site of the entire message of Christ.
The quest is to assert the meaning of the ancient scripture and then apply it to our modern lives. Meaning refers to what the author intended to communicate through the text. Because a text’s meaning is tied to the author, it will be the same for all Christians. That has been one to the great joys in teaching here. No matter text or all the different backgrounds in the room, the meaning is the same.
Application refers to the response of the reader to the meaning of the inspired text. Application reflects the specific life situation of the reader and will vary from Christian to Christian, although it will still have some boundaries influenced by the author’s meaning.[^fn-sample_footnote]
The way to approach any scripture is "What does this passage mean and how do I live out or apply this meaning to my life?” rather than “What does this passage mean to me?" No one grows or finds solice in an opinion of scripture and often great damage is done instead. However, we are changed when God's meaning in His word drills into our hearts through application.
We study Scripture not just to learn more about God, but to know and love God more. He gave us his Word not just to fill our brains with biblical facts, but to change our lives.[^fn-sample_footnote]
[^fn-sample_footnote]: Grasping God's Word