Hermeneutics are the "rules" by which one interprets the Bible.
Everyone has them; and everyone, moreover, has a catechism which is the distillation and conclusions of one's interpretive / hermeneutical methods. Even the Fundamentalist who claims the Bible alone as his catechism betrays himself, and his hermeneutical methods the moment he underlines a passage, or notes what he considers a parallel passage.
What is the Lutheran hermeneutic? The one subscribed to by every Lutheran who has a high view of Scripture is the Law / Gospel dialectic. Lutherans categorize Biblical verses, teachings etc. into one of those two categories. In short all segments of Scripture that manifest the commands, orders and threats of God against sin are known as Law. All those that contain the promises of God to save and bless sinners by grace, through faith, are known as Gospel.
Lutherans who have a high view of Scripture reject the interpretive methods of the "historical critical" school of thought that has owned Biblical interpretation for over 300 years. But in so doing have taken refuge in what they call the "historical grammatical" method, which consists of getting the translations and linguistics of the text right. This is done by dissecting any particular text of Scripture to find what it will yield. These are the things I was taught, but I think was taught wrongly.
The Law / Gospel dialectic has its place, so do linguistics and historical settings: but they must take a servant's role. The proper hermeneutic for understanding Scripture is to first understand that the Bible is the church's book, given to us by God to be used in the church, by the church and for the church. The Bible does not belong to the academy. Theology is not the "queen of sciences" because it is no science at all. Instead Blessed Scripture must be heard and interpreted 1) incarnationally, 2) liturgically and 3) sacramentally.
Only when we understand that the written revelation of God is given largely in the form of out and out liturgy, and which is given to be prayed by the Eucharistic assembly will we get it right. For to engage and "interface" with God via his written Revelation constitutes the liturgical act; constitutes the, "Worship the Father in Spirit and Truth." (John 4:24) This is the very thing that the Father "seeks" of his Prodigals; that they should stop worshiping the word of the Evil One who came into the first church with his heresy, stop worshiping themselves, the natural world, or the institutions and words of men, but worship God alone. This is the 1st and greatest commandment. This is what Jesus did seamlessly which is why he himself is our actual liturgist (Hebrews 8:3) at all times and places, and that man liturgizes God only in conjunction with him.
And so the goal of the Holy Christian Religion is to restore rebellious men to true liturgy which means to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39
This is Scripture's purpose and to receive it, or interpret it, or attempt to understand it apart from its incarnational, sacramental, liturgical import is to get it wrong. To seek the beauty of the holiness of the Divine Word apart from Divine Liturgy is akin to removing breath-takingly beautiful tropical fish out of their aquarium and putting them under a microscope in order to know them , and appreciate them better. They are known in the aquarium, even as our God is known in the church which is: "the Eucharistic assembly of the baptized," and nothing more or less. And so until we understand that not only is Liturgy Scripture, but that Scripture is also Liturgy to be prayed, we will not get very far in properly understanding the Divine Word.
These are my conclusions after 10 years of intense (and ongoing) study, and I hope you will consider them, too.
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