Invitation to Biblical Interpretation
About the Course
This course teaches a simple method for interpreting the Bible. It aims to cover preparation, interpretation, and application. The method of this course is centered around the “hermeneutical triad,” consisting of literature, history, and theology: “In essence, our core proposal is this: for any passage of Scripture, you will want to study the historical setting, the literary context, and the theological message” (23). This method moves from the parts to the whole; it starts with the words of the text and then moves to a consideration of canon and genre. It also moves from the history of the text all the way to contemporary application. Interpretation “is not complete until we apply our interpretive insights to our own lives and those of our congregations” (25).
Many components of this course are similar to that in a traditional hermeneutics course. Yet one unique aspect of this method deserves special mention: “Based on the premise that as a piece of human communication, the Bible should be interpreted like any other piece of writing” (25), conventional approaches typically start with general hermeneutics (studying words, syntax, historical setting, etc.) and then move to special hermeneutics (studying the unique aspects of Scripture). This course turns the conventional approach on its head by moving from special to general hermeneutics. In order to interpret the parts in light of the whole, the course starts with the narrative storyline of the Bible as a whole.
Whether you are a new Christian who wants to learn how to read and interpret the Bible, or a pastor who needs help with the task of interpretation and sermon preparation (or anywhere in between!), we hope that this course offers the help you need in your life and ministry.