Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

 

  1. What is the meaning of “Eschatology?” (The study of the last things. “Eschatos” (Grk.) – “last things.”)
  2. Why is it important to study Eschatology? (It’s a part of God’s Revelation; it concerns us; there is much error; etc.)
  3. What are the two ways to accurately predict the future or the last things? See, or control, the future.
    1. Can man predict or control the future?
    2. Can Satan predict or control the future?
    3. Are the predictions of man or Satan reliable?
  4. Who is the only one who can reliably predict the future?
    1. Why are his predictions so reliable?
  5. What are some of the Names this God uses?
    1. Is Allah the true God, and are his prophecies reliable?
      1. Was Mohammed a prophet of the one true and living God?
    2. What about Nostradamus? (Originally Michel de Notredame. 1503-1566. French physician and astrologer who wrote Centuries (1555), a book of prophecies.)
    3. Could Jehovah reveal new prophecies today?
    4. What methods might He used to reveal those prophecies?
    5. Does Jehovah make new, major prophecies today?
    6. What does Revelation 22:18-19 say?
    7. What does Proverbs 30:5-6 say?
  6. So where is the only place to find the true prophecies of God?
  7. If the Bible is the only source of information on Eschatology, why are there so many diverse opinions?
  8. Name a subject more basic and important than Bible interpretation.
  9. What is the theological name for the study of Bible interpretation? (Hermeneutics, Grk. word for “interpreter.”)
    1. What is “exegesis”? (The explanation of the meaning scripture.)
    2. What is the relationship between Hermeneutics and Exegesis? (One is the science of interpretation and the other is the art of interpretation – L. Berkof.)
  10. There are a number of methods of Bible interpretation, but what are the two most common and important? (Literal and allegorical.)
    1. What is another name for the literal interpretation? (Grammatical-historical method.)
    2. What is another name for the allegorical intepretation? (Figurative method.)
    3. Wherein lie the differences between premillennialists and amillenialists; between pretribulationalists and posttribulationalists? (Their respective hermeneutics.)
  11. What did amillennialist Oswald T. Allis have to say about these two methods of Interpretation?
    1. “One of the most marked features of Premillennialism is all its forms is the emphasis which it places on the literal interpretation of Scripture. It is the insistent clam of is advocates that only when interpreted literally is the Bible interpreted truly; and they denounce as “spiritualizers” or “allegorizers” those who do not interpret the Bible with the same degree of literalness as they do. The question of literal versus figurative interpretation is, therefore, one which has to be faced at the very outset.”
  12. What did amillennialist Floyd E. Hamilton say about this subject?
    1. “Now we must frankly admit that a literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies gives us just such a picture of an earthly reign of the Messiah as the premillennialist pictures. That was the kind of a Messianic Kingdom that the Jews of the time of Christ were looking for, on the basis of a literal interpretation of the Old Testament promises.”
  13. The Allegorical method of interpretation assumes that the Bible is filled with allegories.
    1. What is an allegory? (Literal statements and facts are only vehicles for deeper or parallel messages.)
    2. How is a figure of a blind-folded woman an allegory of justice?
    3. How is Bunyon’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” an allegory?
  14. What are some of the arguments for the use of the Allegorical method of Hermeneutics?
    1. The Bible sometimes uses types and antitypes, such as the Passover Lamb and the Lord Jesus.
    2. Why don’t types justify the allegorizing of other scriptures? (Because for types to be helpful, they must be interpreted literally. The Passover was a literal sacrifice with lessons about the sacrifice of Christ; it was not actually the sacrifice of Christ.)
    3. The Bible sometimes tells us that it is speaking in allegories: Galatians 4:21-31.
    4. Why doesn’t Paul’s allegorizing Hagar give us to allegorize whatever scriptures we chooses? (Paul was inspired of the Holy Spirit.)
  15. What are some of the dangers of the allegorical method of hermeneutics?
    1. It doesn’t really interpret scripture, but diverts the mind from the statement of God.
    2. It opens the door to fanciful speculation, at the discretion of the “interpreter.”
    3. The scriptures cease to be the Word of God and become the word of the interpreter.
    4. The student is left without any means of testing the conclusions of the interpreter.
  16. Why is the literal interpretation sometimes called the grammatical-historical method?
    1. It is grammatical in that the words involved are assumed to say what they mean.
    2. It is historical because it is assumed that each verse is given in an actual historical setting.
  17. What does the literal meaning of a word include? (The basic, customary, social meaning of the word. If that word means more spiritually, it is nevertheless dependent on its original, literal designation.)
  18. To whom did God intend to give His Word? His Revelation? ( To men.)
    1. What is the usual method of people in speaking to each other? (Figurative or literal?)
  19. When the New Testament comments on the Old Testament, does it look back literally or allegorically?
    1. Was Mary figuratively a virgin before the birth of Christ?
    2. Was Jonah figuratively swallowed by a fish?
    3. Was Moses merely in a high spiritual state when he was given the law, or did he climb Sinai?
  20. Were the prophesies of the first coming of Christ fulfilled figuratively or literally?
  21. What are some of the advantages to the literal interpretation over the figurative interpretation?
    1. It is grounded in substantial facts, not subjective and changeable theories.
    2. It makes the Bible accessible to anyone, not just the initiated.
    3. It gives the student grounds to test his interpretations.
  22. What are some of the objections to the literal interpretation?
    1. The Bible contains figures of speech, especially in its poetry.
      1. True but when a literal interpretation makes the best sense, then it is the method to use.
    2. Since God is a spirit, we should expect Him to communicate with man on a higher plane than we are accustomed to hear, but revelation that doesn’t actually communicate isn’t revelation at all.
  23. What is our first rule of Bible interpretation?
    1. Interpret the Bible literally unless it demands to be taken figuratively.
    2. If the first sense makes sense then seek no other sense.