Hermeneutics

The title of this week’s devotion is a word you likely have not seen before.  In the obscure world of Scripture interpretation, a hermeneutic refers to the presupposition one uses to interpret Scripture.  The word hermeneutic is derived from a Greek word connected with the name of the god Hermes, the reputed messenger and interpreter of the gods.

To stretch the word outside of its common use in Biblical study, many of us use a hermeneutic all the time.  For example, if your presupposition is that you are not worthwhile, you will interpret things others say to you in that light.  If your presupposition is that you are worthwhile, and valuable, how you interpret the things others say to you will reflect that assumption, too.

But now, back to our Scripture study.  What is the lens through which you view God?  In the March 18, 2012 Gospel Reading from John 3, Nicodemus couldn’t quite catch the hermeneutic Jesus was using to speak of faith.  Yet Jesus wasn’t content to leave Nicodemus in the dark; using a now-famous verse, John 3:16, Jesus offers Nicodemus a hermeneutic of inexhaustible love.

Imagine a life where God’s sacrificial love for you was assumed as a presupposition.  What difference could that make?

Holy God:  Heal us.  Give us understanding.  Reorient our hermeneutic.  Amen.

Christ Instructing Nicodemus Crijn Hendricksz, 1604

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