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.