How would you like to attend a class called, “How to Read the Bible,” taught by the Lord Jesus himself?
There are a large number of passages in the gospel accounts that give the reader the opportunity to learn hermeneutics (=the science of interpretation) from Jesus. One that I came across recently is in Mark 12:26-27.
26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”
What are some of the hermeneutical lessons?
- Jesus is familiar with Scripture and seems to have Scripture memorized. An absolute must. Jesus as one who was fully human had memorized Scripture and familiarized himself with it.
- Jesus gleans theology directly from the text. In other words, he gleans something about the character of God from simply observing that God said “I am [currently] the God of Abraham [who died centuries before this moment, yet I’m his God right now.]”
- Jesus uses the Scripture polemically. He uses Scripture to contradict a false teaching.
- Jesus is able to speak boldly about the text because he has understood the text.
- Jesus is confident in the trustworthiness of the text. He assumes that the words of Exodus are the very words of God himself, rather than strictly a product of human hands.
- Jesus assumes someone can be wrong about Scripture; that they’ve interpreted it incorrectly. In other words, there’s a right way and a wrong way to interpret Scripture.
I could go on. Let’s learn from Jesus in the School of Hermeneutics.