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Featured The Golden Rule of Hermeneutics

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    How valid, Biblically, is the oft-repeated maxim, the Golden Rule of Hermeneutics: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense."?
     
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  2. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    That is the basic rule of all literature. The context will help you understand if other literary styles dictate a different understand.
     
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  3. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Then a corollary question comes to mind: Are we to approach Scripture with this same basic rule that we use for other literature?
     
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  4. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    It comes to the difference between what a text says versus how one inerperts its meaning. And a reader being able to know the difference between what the text says and one's own interpertation.
     
  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    In my years at BJU I had heard that quote used quite a bit. I was surprised that the quote came from another BJU graduate, David L. Cooper. I came to the point where I wondered if there is a Biblical justification for imposing that particular grid on Scripture.

    And speaking of common sense, when I lived in China I witnessed the Bible shockingly skewed into seeming support for the communist regime. But to them, perhaps, it was "common sense".

    I am so thankful that the Bible has a Helper that aids us in our interpretation. Not totally throwing away common sense, but not putting it in the driver's seat either.
     
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  6. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    I believe that the quote from Cooper largely overlooks the fact that much of Scripture must be taken metaphorically or spiritually, not literally. Remember, this was a constant problem with Jesus' disciples. They were taking literally what Christ was teaching metaphorically.

    Also, the disciples were not given a heads up ahead of time that His words were not literal (for instance, when He warned them to "be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees"). Likewise we must assume that Scripture does not always come with a heads up for us, telling us that passage X is meant metaphorically, not literally. I write all this because I have heard - from some of my professors even - that we should not take passages metaphorically if there is no indication (no heads up).
     
  7. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    It is a contradiction of Scripture, in the most significant area of 'need' for understanding. Revelation is written in three different literature genras and, in keeping with your question and AustonC's reply =
    "How valid, Biblically, is the oft-repeated maxim, the Golden Rule of Hermeneutics: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense."?"
    + =
    That is the basic rule of all literature. The context will help you understand if other literary styles dictate a different understand.

    we are to literally read what the Bible says.
    from; Revelation 1:1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon come to pass. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,

    Prologue

    1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon come to pass. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

    2 who testifies to everything he saw. This is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.…
    Berean Study Bible · Download


    Daniel 2:28
    But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the latter days. Your dream and the visions that came into your mind as you lay on your bed were these:

    John 17:8
    For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

    Titus 1:1
    Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness,

    Revelation 1:4
    John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from Him who is and was and is to come, and from the seven Spirits before His throne,

    Revelation 1:9
    I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance that are in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and my testimony about Jesus.

    Revelation 1:19
    Therefore write down the things you have seen, and the things that are, and the things that will happen after this.

    Revelation 5:7
    And He came and took the scroll from the right hand of the One seated on the throne.

    Revelation 17:1
    Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.

    Revelation 19:9
    Then the angel told me to write, "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."

    Revelation 19:10
    So I fell at his feet to worship him. But he told me, "Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who rely on the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

    Revelation 21:9
    Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

    Revelation 22:1
    Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

    Revelation 22:6
    Then the angel said to me, "These words are faithful and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must soon take place."

    Revelation 22:8
    And I am John, who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things.

    Revelation 22:9
    But he said to me, "Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"

    Revelation 22:16
    "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star."

    Daniel 2:28,29
    But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; …

    Amos 3:7
    Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

    Romans 16:25
    Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

    which God.

    John 3:32
    And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

    John 8:26
    I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

    John 12:49
    For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

    to shew.

    Revelation 22:6
    And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

    Psalm 25:14
    The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

    John 15:15
    Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

    which must.

    Revelation 1:3,19
    Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand…

    Revelation 4:1
    After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

    Revelation 22:10
    And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

    and he.

    Revelation 22:6,16
    And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done…

    Daniel 8:16
    And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

    Daniel 9:21,23
    Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation…








     
  8. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    IMO, it isn't.
    "Common sense" is something that we as men take great pride in...
    A "sense" that is common, or "right" in our own eyes.

    But God's word tells us as believers to ignore what we think is "right" and to trust Him and His words alone, as well as His wisdom and not ours:

    " Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil."
    ( Proverbs 3:5-6 ).

    We're to approach it soberly, knowing that they are God's words and not like man's works of literature.
    As am I.
    I know that the Holy Spirit is my Teacher and not men ( 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, 1 John 2:20-27 ).

    I don't need the help of men in order to believe and understand His words ( but God does indeed use men as teachers to show us where to find His words, to teach us the Scriptures as He told Peter to do, "feeding His sheep" with His word ),
    as I have the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth ( John 16:13 ).
    I'd say, "throw it away", as "common sense" will tell you that God's words cannot be believed, but God-given faith will tell you otherwise.;)
    I think that much of Scripture must be taken literally, and not metaphorically or spiritually.

    While I agree that His words are Spirit and they are life ( John 6:63 ),
    He does not speak as if to mystify His people, but to inform them of things that He wants them to know about both Himself and His will.


    So, to me there is no "Golden Rule of Hermenuetics",
    and there is no "manual" made by men whereby I have to consult it before I can read and properly understand the Bible for myself.

    To me, "hermenuetics" that are used in order to help me to understand His words are irrelevant.
    Jesus Christ says point-blank that, "He that is of God hears God's words..." ( John 8:47 )

    To me that means that we, as God's children, inherently not only welcome them as God's words,
    we also know what they mean when we read them or hear them spoken.


    May God bless you, sir.
     
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  9. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    Yes. It's still literature and there are still rules that dictate your interpretation.
     
  10. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    ' literature', includes denotative and connotative speech.

    Literature is to be "taken literally", however, "letters" (denotative) and "figurative speech" (connotative, i.e., 'connoting something else) ...ARE BOTH "Literal Interpretation of Literature", because the two make up literature.
     
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  11. AustinC

    AustinC Well-Known Member

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    This is true.
    Therefore, unless the context shows us the language is figurative, we should take the words literally as they are spoken.
    God had men write His word down using the rules of grammar. God is not a God of confusion.

    What I observe is that person's in rebellion against God look to ignore obvious understanding to create philosophical meanings that allow them to be unrepentant.
     
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  12. Paul from Antioch

    Paul from Antioch Active Member

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    Another good bit of advice I heard one of my CBC instructors oft time (I'm sure it wasn't "original' from hymn.) '....A text taken out of it's historical & cultural context is merely a ...................PRETEXT!!!
     
  13. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    In other words, "what did it mean to those it was spoken to, when and where."

    That is for 'the Interpretation'. There is one interpretation to each Scripture and that is, "what did it mean to those it was spoken to, when, and where."

    AFTER we have the 'Interpretation', we may proceed with making an application.
     
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  14. Paul from Antioch

    Paul from Antioch Active Member

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  15. Paul from Antioch

    Paul from Antioch Active Member

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    Preach it! My friend! It's like the old story of this one preacher who disdained ANY form of "Edu-ma-tion." He insisted that all a REAL preacher needs do is to have faith in this fellow's method of selecting passages on which to preach. "All I have to do is to flop open my Bible & the first verse to which it opens, by golly, that's that there HOLY GHOST's divine way to have me preach at 'em! So, that Sunday his Bible flops open to where it read: "Judas went out and hanged himself." Thinking that some deacon had bumped this preacher's elbow, he momentarily closed it and flopped open the second time to read, "Go YE therefore and do LIKEWISE." Knowing that "Three's a charm," for the THIRD time he again closed his Bible and for the THIRD time flopped it open to read, "What thou doest, DO QUICKLY!" I'm sure many decisions were made in his closing invitation....especially dat dare DEEEcon! ;) ;) ;)
     
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  16. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    That was something made up to relieve lazy expositors from the task of "giving reasons" when pressed for the justification of their positions.
     
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  17. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    If we believe in false doctrine, and we come across a verse that conflicts with what we have accepted as true, then the verse will not make sense, and we will need to claim it does not mean what it says, and those holding to the plain sense are "taking the verse out of context" or some other tool of nullification.
     
  18. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Often interpretative rules of men, however well intended, become grids we bring to the scriptures in order to obtained some pre-conceived result. (Not always of the one who uses the rule, and possibly sometimes of the one who gave them the rule.)
     
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  19. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Amen!
    In fact the Bible has its own principles of interpretation.
    One is that all Scripture is about the Lord Jesus Christ: e.g. John 5:39, 46; Luke 24:26-27.
    Another is that the O.T. was written for the benefit of N.T. believers: e.g. Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Peter 1:10-12.
     
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  20. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    This is very true. I always try to hold on to the assumption that all interpreters of Scripture - myself included - have inherent biases.
     
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