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Hermeneutics in Theology

  • July 26, 2020
  • By Ben van Noort
Hermeneutics in Theology

Hermeneutics in Theology

In my dictionary the explanation for the word Hermeneutics is “Theory of Bible Exegesis”. It seems a promising and modern discipline. But is it?

Hermeneutics, what is it?
We will go through the Hermeneutics of the Gospels and of the Bible in general in this and other blogs to follow. And I want to begin by telling you what happened a short time ago. My granddaughter of 131/2 was dining with us, and as grandparents we always like that. After the meal I took the Bible to read a short passage, Psalm 8 (NASB) about the majesty of God in creation .

Some quotes
“How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength.”
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained.”
“What is man that You take thought of him.”
“You make him to rule over the works of Your hands.”
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

Night as a Blanket
While reading I thought: how can one explain that children and nursing babes can establish the strength of God? So when I had finished the reading, I began to tell about something else. I said: “Do you know what I said lately to grandma? Isn’t it a miracle that when night begins, it is as if God comes with a sort of dark blanket to bring us to bed. He created night as a period that is comfortable for humans and animals, and he comes to sit at the edge of my bed and says: “Come, it’s time.” It is therefore so special for me, as I cannot remember that my father ever brought me to bed. “Isn’t it great that God also created the day as a special period good for us, not too short and not too long?”

Free Conversation
Looking at our granddaughter I saw that my words landed in an open heart and mind. Then she said: “Grandpa, what I don’t understand is the big bang. It can’t be that an explosion occurred in nothing and resulted in a huge cloud of gas.” And there before my ears and eyes a child of 131/2  fulfilled the saying, I had avoided: “From the mouth of infants (and nursing babes) You have established strength.”[1] Her simple denial without heavy words or dogmatic additions was so convincing, that I thought: “My dear, how good are you, and I do hope you will continue to remain so.”

Or Hermeneutics
After dinner we experienced a free sharing of biblical and thoughtful considerations. Hermeneutics is something else, often a discipline in theology that stresses the human aspect of the texts, but excludes God and his work. With the good sounding motive that the Biblical message should be translated for modern people. The result that only the human part of the passage remains, while the spiritual part disappears. And always the loss of free conversation.

What has this to do with the gospels? In the next blogs we will see.

[1] Infant means: child between 5–7 years, and not a child of 131/2. However, in the relation grandparent and grandchild the difference is not that great.

By Ben van Noort, July 26, 2020