February 19, 2014

Deeper Still: Approach


Many of us do not know how to listen to the voice of God in Scripture, because we are trained to view the Bible as a series of verses strung together like pearls on a string, each having its own meaning in itself. We were trained to resort to that treasure trove whenever we felt a need for something from it, plucking the gem that satisfies our quest at the moment… isolated verses have become “God’s will” for us in the circumstances, or they serve as magic words that we use on God to try to manipulate him, or as levers that we employ to get what we want from God… we hamper ourselves from truly hearing God’s word. ~John H. Stek
There are two ways people approach scripture: The first is called deductive study, meaning a person comes to a text in the Bible already with a theses in mind and is seeking out verses or passages to support their endeavor. It's the coming to scripture with an opinion of your own and finding verses that will back it up. The second approach, is inductive study. This is when we come to scripture believing that God's word is our defining truth, and we then align ourselves under it. It's coming to the Bible with the understanding that we sit under it, not over it. We're creatures, not the Creator, therefore it's the opposite of the former mode of study and interpretation. Inductive study is the most ideal of the two in our studying.

Deductive interpretation can easily take scripture out of it's context, making it out to mean something that it actually doesn't mean at all. Inductive interpretation "[lays] aside preconceived ideas... [it] seeks to let Scriptures speak for themselves and studies the Scriptures in context" (Unknown).

'Hermeneutics' may be just a word you hear a seminary student, pastor, or (maybe) your literature or philosophy professor talk about, but it's an important word for us students (disciples) of the scripture to know too. Essentially, it's how one goes about interpreting the Bible; liken it to an art form if you will.

6 comments :

  1. This is so intriguing to me. I've often wondered a lot about this concept, how do I know I am reading the Word in a humble manner and not just searching for passages that back up my own desires? Interesting thoughts to ponder. I love the quote.

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  2. Thank you SO much for sharing this "deeper still" series, Natalie. It's wonderful to have such great reminders in our blog dashboard! :)

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    1. Glad it's been a good reminder and that you've like it Rissi

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  3. Hi Natalie! I have heard of hermeneutics before, but really didn't know what it meant. Thank you for that. And the two ways to use the bible really make sense. Sometimes I am looking for a quote to use, sometimes I'm reading to reflect on the Word.

    I agree that the first way can be misinterpreted, but it's also a good way to support my faith. Sometimes I'll put a line or two of Scripture up where I can see it, because it encourages me, or helps with the challenges I am having at the moment.
    Have a great Thursday!
    Ceil

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  4. I recently looked back at some articles I wrote at the sage-age of 14 years old, and shook my head in embarrassment at my horrid use of deductive interpretation. I sincerely pray no 14-year-olds were forming their doctrine according to the way I explained scripture. --facepalm--

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    1. haha! I know exactly what you mean! Age and experience does bring wisdom, for which I'm grateful.

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