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Essential: Literal Hermeneutic, Part 1

Posted by Matt Postiff February 15, 2011 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Creation 

The first essential element of young earth creation that I listed last month was literal hermeneutics. Now that I am back and caught up after a very profitable ministry trip to Chile at the end of January, I can continue this series.

Hermeneutics is the science and art of interpretation. It entails certain principles which can be applied to the text of Scripture to arrive at the meaning of the text.

The meaning of a text is informed or constrained by several factors. These include:

  1. The text itself. By this, I mean that the meaning is in the text. It is not found outside of the text of Scripture.
  2. Author's intent. That is, what the author wanted to convey has an important place in determining the meaning.
  3. Stability. The text means what it meant. The meaning does not change with time.
  4. Lexicography. Words have meaning, and the dictionary definition may include a wide range of meanings. But only one of those meanings is active in a given context.
  5. Grammar. The word forms and arrangement convey meaning.
  6. Context. The context in which a text sits not only limits the semantic range of individual words, but also provides boundaries beyond which the meaning of the sentences and paragraphs cannot go.
  7. Theology. In reality, this is the contextual factor widened to include all of Scripture and the coherent, non-contradictory system of truth that it conveys.
  8. Genre/form. The form of a text affects the meaning. Narrative, poetry, epistolary, and parabolic settings have different effects on the interpretation of a given sub-text.
  9. History. The historical and cultural setting are definitely factors in determining the meaning.

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