The older I get the more peace I find in sticking to the Bible, to the orthodoxy of the Old and New Testament, the direct commands of Christ and to the divine call of the apostles to make sense of it all. We may struggle to find the truth, to navigate through the many OPINIONS of man, bad teachings, cultural differences, Bible verses taken out of context, the challenges of languages, diverse Bible versions and many other challenges; however, we were not left alone to depend on our own opinions. We were given the blessing of the Holy Spirit and Godly examples to follow. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or to guess; we must stay focus on the divine. That is, 1) the divine Word of God, 2) the greatest teacher of all, the Holy Ghost and, 3) I go as far as saying, the divine methodology for biblical interpretation given by the original apostles.
A time period and a person whose method offers the most promise for attaining a clear interpretation of Scripture today
The apostles were not perfect men, but they were the only men in the history of the world, outside of the Old Testament prophets, to receive perfect doctrine. I go as far as saying that they gave us also, the proper method of interpretation. Klein refers to the original apostles as “the first Christian interpreters.”
The Apostles left us with a very simple and yet, powerful hermeneutical system. Klein identify several such as, 1) they regarded Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah; they acknowledge Jesus as the fulfillment of Judaism’s hope. 2) They appeal to the Old Testament to support their beliefs. Is important to point out that Jesus validated the Old Testament by quoting it and referring to it as Scripture. They interpreted the OT from radically new perspective – in light of the Messiahship of Jesus. When interpreting the Old Testament Klein points out that they a) applied Literal interpretation: The fundamental hermeneutic principle was viewing Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of OT prophecy. The focus here was the application of typology interpretation; the idea that the Old Testament pointed at Jesus and at events to come. b) Literal-contextual Interpretation: this is the application of the Old Testament as it is; and c) Principle/application Interpretation: This is the utilization of getting a hold of examples of principles in he OT that could be applicable in current situations. 3) They revered Jesus as superior than Moses and the law.
The closer we keep these principles in minds the closer we will be to walking in truth. The Jewish Interpretation’s greatest flaw is that they miss the Messiah. With the Patristic Period we see the beginning stages of the church disregarding the Holy Spirit and the orthodoxy of the Apostles for that of these apostolic fathers. However, Augustine approach and contribution to hermeneutics can’t be ignored.
To guard against the subjective excesses of allegory, he offered three interpretative principles for finding the figurative meaning of difficult texts. 1) One consults what other, clearer passages of Scripture say on the subject. 2) One consults the “rule of faith” or the apostolic interpretation of the major doctrines of Scripture. 3) If conflicting views meet both criteria, one should consult the context to see which best commends itself.
I look at Augustine method with great respect, as it is an attempt to go back to the apostles’ way. In that regard I also respect Luther and Calvin; their high view of Scripture was a refreshing return to what truly works when attempting to interpret Scripture.
How that method aids a modern interpreter in understanding Scripture?
It is the only way; Christ centered and Holy Ghost dependent. That system was good then, is good now and will forever be good. At the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2003, McCartney states,
Hence there is a sense in which we must emulate the exegetical practice of the New Testament writers. If we do not adopt the viewpoint of Jesus and the apostles that Christ’s death and resurrection is the key focus of the Old Testament, thatChrist is himself the centerpiece of all God’s promises, that Christ is the true Israel, true Son of God, that the meaning of the biblical texts for the present-day people of God has to do with our relation to God in Christ, then how can our interpretation be deemed in any sense Christian?
As long as we have humans involve, there will always be problems. Lets face it, we are carnal folks with souls in need of restoration; we will mess up. Bias, ambitions, personal agendas and the pride of man will always get on the way of truth. However, if we keep our eyes on Jesus and stop placing ourselves at the center, if we are “…diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” we will be ok (Ephesians 4:3 NASB). If we embrace humility and find satisfaction in being the echo of the voices of the Old and New Testament writers and don’t try to speak over them… we will be ok!
Klein, W.W., C.L. Blomberg, and R.L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: 3rd Edition. Zondervan, 2017.
McCartney, Dan G. “Should We Employ the Hermeneutics of the New Testament Writers?”, (2003)
  W.W. Klein, C.L. Blomberg, and R.L. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation: 3rd Edition (Zondervan, 2017), 77
 Ibid. 77 – 79
 Ibid. 87
 Dan G. McCartney, “Should We Employ the Hermeneutics of the New Testament Writers?”, (2003)
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