Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers VI


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only? The answers to all of these questions should be a resounding yes/of course. Jesus most definitely taught his followers a unique distinctive hermeneutic so I will try to uncover it.

Looking at Jesus and his followers presuppositions:
#3 The scribes and Pharisees –- the rulers of the Jews were apostate and in danger of the imminent day of the Lord’s wrath, foretold of in the prophets, which would come to their generation. Ultimately, the hermeneutics of Jesus would overthrow the specularia of Moses and establish but one covenant… the new covenant. Jesus of Nazareth was the  unique promised Messiah.

All of the history of the scripture…. the entire story was pointing to one grand plan of God. God was going to set to rights the creation by bringing forth the Messiah. If one missed the Messiah, they missed God and his plan. Missing the Messiah was the ultimate example of missing the mark -- sin. When the Jews incited the Romans to crucify Jesus, they in effect killed their only Messiah and that is the ultimate apostasy. Rejecting and killing God Incarnate was the ultimate final apostasy.

Using scripture as a justification (John 7:46-49) the Jews rejected Jesus for religious and hermeneutical reasons. This was after God proclaimed this to them:
Exo 25:8-9  And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  (9)  According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
God had become the tabernacle and dwelt among them and they rejected him. This is the ultimate apostasy.

Hebrews the Rosetta Stone of the New Covenant:
One of the ways that God could speak clearly to the Jews was to employ their hermeneutical devices in speaking to them.  The bulk of the New Testament writings are made up of DRASH that helps to interpret the Old Testament Prophecy. Of all the books in the New Testament, Hebrews is directed at Jewish believers who were in danger of joining the unbelieving Jews in the apostasy of rejecting Jesus as Messiah.

One of the main presuppositions of the scribes and the Pharisees was called the specularia of Moses. By this they meant that all of the scripture must be filtered through Moses writings. They used Numbers 12:5-8 as the proof text for this Mosaic Specularia. DRASH uses phrases from the scripture to show interpretation. Hebrews chapters one through three establish the supremacy of Christ. Chapter three explains the supremacy of Christ over Moses and there is DRASH in the passage as the writer of Hebrews uses the language of Numbers 12:7 in referring to Moses being faithful in all of God’s house, and then the writer  goes on to say that Jesus was greater than Moses thus overthrowing the earlier Mosaic Specularia.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers V


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only? The answers to all of these questions should be a resounding yes/of course. Jesus most definitely taught his followers a unique distinctive hermeneutic so I will try to uncover it.

Looking at Jesus and his followers presuppositions:
#2 The end of the age was nigh i.e, it was within the first century time frame. All of the Old Testament prophecies were about to be fulfilled in the first century time frame

Were Jesus and his first century followers expecting the end of the age to be the end of the space time continuum? Why would anyone think they were? You can lay it partially at the feet of the King James translators and partially at the use of metaphor and hyperbole.

Matt KJV 24:3  “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

The above verse from the KJV translates the Greek word aeon to be world when it should have been translated age. Aeon is an age not a world. So then, Jesus and his followers like all the Pharisees and many other Jews were expecting an imminent (within their generation) end of the age. Likewise they were looking forward to Olam Ha Ba, the age to come. It is safe to say that none of them were expecting a cataclysmic end of the world. Even though you see language like the elements burning and melting it was not meant to be literal. In Jewish prophecy it was metaphoric and hyperbole. Stars falling, coming on clouds etc. were merely prophetic figures of speech.

They were however, expecting a regeneration of the world. They were expecting God to make all things new and establish the age to come. One of the principle prophecies of the time that pointed to this was Daniel 9:24-27.  The seventy weeks put the fulfillment of the prophecy in their time frame.

Here is Daniel 9:24 in bulleted form:
Dan 9:24  "Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city,
  • to finish the transgression,
  • to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity,
  • to bring in everlasting righteousness,
  • to seal both vision and prophet,
  • and to anoint a most holy place.


This is one of the main reasons that there is so much imminent expectation in the New Testament writings. Here are a list of some of the blog posts that have dealt with the end of the age.






Check these posts out and you will see the presuppositions that Jesus and his followers brought to their understanding of scripture concerning the end of the age.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers IV


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only? The answers to all of these questions should be a resounding yes/of course. Jesus most definitely taught his followers a unique distinctive hermeneutic so I will try to uncover it.

Looking at Jesus and his followers presuppositions:
#1 Jesus and his followers redefined the phrase/term word of God, word, word of truth, word of the truth, from scripture to either Himself the living word or the gospel.

I have already written several posts on this subject. I will list them all below so that you can look at them one by one. I would suggest that before you do that you read through this post completely so that you do not need to be clicking backward and forward.


If you read these posts you will see that overwhelmingly Jesus and his followers defined the phrases word of truth, word of God, word of his grace and word as the gospel or Jesus the living gospel. So here is the point of this post…. If Jesus and his followers defined the word of God, word of truth and word as the gospel or himself the living word… why would his followers define the word of God, word of truth, word as the scripture?

The fact is that this presupposition changes our view greatly. First, not every message of the scripture has equal value. Some messages of the scripture take precedence over others. Even the Pharisees taught that. For them, Mose and the five books of the Torah had preeminence and precedence over all others. Interestingly, the book of Hebrews, chapter three overthrows the preeminence of Moses. So then, Moses has to be viewed through the lens of Jesus and his followers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers III


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only? The answers to all of these questions should be a resounding yes/of course. Jesus most definitely taught his followers a unique distinctive hermeneutic so I will try to uncover it.

In the last couple of posts I have looked at Luke 24:27,44-47. I have shown that first and foremost Jesus and his followers used a hermeneutic that showed that He was the Messiah and the complete focus of the scripture. This is especially reinforced in John 5:39-40.

John 5:39-40  You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me.  (40)  And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Therefore Jesus taught that the sole purpose of the scripture was to direct the reader to him so that they could come to him for life. This is evidence of one of the presuppositions that Jesus brought to scripture interpretation and it is a good time to answer the following question; what were the presuppositions that Jesus brought to his interpretation of scripture?

  • Jesus and his followers redefined the phrase/term word of God, word, word of truth, word of the truth, from scripture to either Himself the living word or the gospel.
  • He, Jesus was uniquely the promised Messiah
  • The end of the age was nigh i.e, it was within the first century time frame
  • He, Jesus was installing and instituting the New Covenant
  • He, Jesus was instituting the Kingdom of God
  • The scribes and Pharisees –- the rulers of the Jews were apostate and in danger of the imminent day of the Lord’s wrath, foretold of in the prophets, which would come to their generation
  • All of the Old Testament prophecies were about to be fulfilled in the first century time frame
  • After the resurrection, the Spirit continued to teach the hermeneutic of Jesus to his followers who wrote the New Testament.
  • Ultimately, the hermeneutics of Jesus would overthrow the specularia of Moses and establish but one covenant… the new covenant


Each of these presuppositions will be examined in greater detail as these posts move along. Interestingly, these presuppositions have led to the establishment of presuppositions that I in turn bring to the entire text of the bible. It is my view that these presuppositions must be used in any hermeneutic that claims to be Christian.

  • The definition of the term/phrase word of God is Jesus or the gospel in the New Testament writings
  • Progressive revelation is a rule of thumb for all Christians
  • The Old Testament must be viewed based upon progressive revelation
  • Progressive revelation found in the New Testament must alter the understanding of things written in the Old Testament
  • Redemption was the basis for creation
  • Jesus and his followers interpretation of Old Testament passages preempts earlier interpretations.
  • Jesus alone is the Israel of God and all *in Christ* inherit that same position
  • Obedience under the New Covenant is the obedience of faith -- Paul called it obeying from the heart also.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers II


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only? The answers to all of these questions should be a resounding yes. Jesus most definitely taught his followers a unique distinctive hermeneutic.

Should everyday Christ followers be concerned with hermeneutics at all? The answer to this question is also yes. I was at a meeting one time where a self-appointed apostle presided and was teaching. He made the comment that one should not worry about hermeneutics as the word is from Greek philosophy and is not in the bible. It is sad some of the things people teach. They get an idea and decide that they can proclaim it even if it is not true.

The fact is that the Greek word diermeneuo is found in Luke 24:27. It is directly related to the Greek word ermeneuo (the *h* sound is not written in Greek but it is pronounced) which is pronounced hermeneuo, and is where the word hermeneutics comes from. So then the fact is that Jesus employed hermeneutics in Luke 24:27.

Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

In the above passage the word diermeneuo is translated as interpreted. So then, Jesus used hermeneutical interpretation with his followers and taught them the interpretation method that he used. What was that lens you ask? It was a lens that saw Jesus as the Messiah. While it is true that the scribes and Pharisees had a Christo-centric, messiah centered hermeneutic; the thing that differentiated Jesus from them was that he saw himself as the Messiah and the center of all scripture. Therefore he alone was able to show how the scripture prophecies applied to him. His hermeneutic was Spirit directed. The scribes and Pharisees hermeneutic was scripture directed. In fact, the Pharisees declared that he was not the Messiah based upon the scripture when they asked; “has any of us thought that he was the Messiah? Yet, this group that does not know the scripture is accursed” (John 7:47-49.)

In other words, the scribes and Pharisees were depending on their interpretation of the scripture to be able to identify the Messiah, and their interpretation worked in the opposite… they determined by scripture that Jesus was not the Messiah. This is important because it shows that Jesus and his follower’s interpretation must have precedence over all other methods of interpretation. This creates a top down hermeneutic in which one has to view the Old Testament prophesies in view of the Spirit filled interpretation of Jesus and his followers.

This would mean that for one to properly interpret any scripture, one would have to read the entire scripture Genesis to Revelation without making any interpretation and only then make the interpretation in light of the revelation provided by Jesus and the New Testament writings.

Check out the blog post “The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers I;” here

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The hermeneutics of Jesus and his followers I


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interpret the scripture just as Jesus did? Wouldn’t it be helpful to use Jesus hermeneutic in all biblical interpretation? Is it possible to understand and employ Jesus hermeneutic? If Jesus had a specific hermeneutic and, if we could understand it, why wouldn’t the followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic only?

The answer to the first three questions is yes and the answer to the fourth question ought to be yes and why it isn’t baffles me. I realize that there are number of hermeneutical lenses that one can use but what is completely perplexing is this question; why wouldn’t followers of Jesus use his hermeneutic exclusively? Can someone please answer that for me? If there is a good reason to not use Jesus hermeneutic then I would like to hear it. The fact remains from my perspective that there is no reason not to use the hermeneutic of Jesus and his followers.

So then, what is the hermeneutic of Jesus and his followers? In short, it is a solely redemptive Christo-centric hermeneutic that uniquely sees Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of the entire Jewish scripture. I am speaking of both the Torah and the Tanakh; i.e., the thirty nine books that make up the Old Testament, and Jesus hermeneutic, is found in the pages of the twenty seven books of the New Testament. A large portion of the New Testament text is the explanation of --the interpretation of --the Old Testament in a solely redemptive, Jesus of Nazareth centric, way.

The foundation of Jesus hermeneutic is found in Luke chapter twenty-four. It can be specifically found in Luke 24:27 & 44-47. I will post each of these passages here.

Luke 24:27  “Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted for them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

Luke 24:44-47  “Then He told them, "These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled."  (45)  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.  (46)  He also said to them, "This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day,  (47)  and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

One of the more important parts of the above passages is verse forty-five. He opened their understanding. I will show later in a post that this is related to the Lamb opening the scroll in Revelation chapters five and ten.

What is included in a hermeneutical system or lens?
  • The method of interpretation of a text
  • The presuppositions that go into the writing of a text
  • The historical setting and context of the time of the writing of the text
  • The authority of the message of the text


In this series I will look at how Jesus viewed and formed these precepts into his hermeneutical lens. Further I will show that while the first century church embraced these principals completely the early church fathers abandoned many in favor of the hermeneutical principals of the Scribes and Pharisees.

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