Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpretation
“II. The Reactionary School of Antioch of Syria (Lucian [A.D. 250–312], Diodore of Tarsus [A.D. 378], Theodore of Mopseutsia [A.D. 350–428], Chrysostom [A.D. 345–407])
A. It has something of a precedent in the literal or maybe “letteral” (focused on spelling of words) hermeneutical approach of the rabbis (Aquiba and Hillel).
B. It focuses on the plain, obvious, ordinary, common sense meaning of words and sentences.
C. It tried to understand the original inspired author’s intent.
D. Because of its textual focus, it came to be called the historical-grammatical or literal school of interpretation.
E. It became involved in the controversy over the natures of Christ (Nestorianism, i.e. Jesus had two natures—human and divine) and was disciplined out of existence by the Western church (Rome).
F. Therefore, it moved from Antioch in Syria to Persia after A.D. 553.
G. Its basic tenets were the interpretive approach of the Classical sixteenth century Protestant Reformers (Luther and Calvin) which they received, in part, from Nicholas of Lyra.
III. Its Basic Tenets
A. The Bible is written in normal human language. James W. Sire in his book Scripture Twisting makes two good points:
1. “The illumination comes to the minds of God’s people—not just to the spiritually elite. There is no guru class in biblical Christianity, no illuminati, no people through whom all proper interpretation must come. And, so, while the Holy Spirit gives special gifts of wisdom, knowledge and spiritual discernment, He does not assign these gifted Christians to be the only authoritative interpreters of His Word. It is up to each of His people to learn, to judge and to discern by reference to the Bible which stands as the authority over even those to whom God has given special abilities” (p. 17).
2. “To summarize, the assumption I am making throughout the entire book is that the Bible is God’s true revelation to all humanity, that it is our ultimate authority on all matters about which it speaks, that it is not a total mystery but can be adequately understood by ordinary people in every culture” (pp. 17–18).
B. The Bible must be interpreted in light of its own historical setting and literary context.
C. The intent of the original inspired author as expressed in the text is the focus of interpretation.
IV. Interpretive Questions to Help Modern Interpreters Think Through All of these Hermeneutical Issues
A. What did the original author say? (textual criticism)
B. What did the original author mean? (exegesis)
C. What did the original author say elsewhere on the same subject? (biblical theology)
D. What did other biblical authors say on the same subject? (parallel passages and systematic theology)
E. How did the original hearers understand it? (literary context)
F. How does the original message apply to my day? (application)
G. How does the original message apply to my life? (devotion and implementation)
H. These seven questions will be used in this seminar as stages of interpretive methodology.”
Utley, R. J. D. (1996). You Can Understand the Bible! (pp. 27–28). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.