My guest today is JC Lamont talking about Hermeneutics. I invited JC to my blog when I was given a review copy of her novel, Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium (The Chronicles of Time Book 1), released Nov 16, 2018. I was fascinated with her website, where I found she bases all her writings and therefore her novels on Hermeneutics. This topic is something that is very important for all Christians to know and use and it is not just for the serious Bible scholar. It is open to everyone and is a powerful tool to understanding God's Word through its correct interpretation and therefore God's message to us. So without further ado, let JC Lamont impart some of the basics of hermeneutics so you can see how when applied to the Word of God, it can then elucidate the truth of His Word.
So, there is actually a science behind the study of interpretation. It's called: Hermeneutics.
If Hermeneutics is the methodology of interpretation then Exegesis (good) and Eisegesis (bad) are the actual interpretations.
Good Hermeneutics: Exegesis (ex-ih-Jesus): The interpretation of the Bible by way of the original, intended meaning by the author and which ascertains what the original hearers/readers would have understood it to mean.
Bad Hermeneutics: Eisegesis (eyes-ih-Jesus): The interpretation of the Bible by way of doctrinal presuppositions, life experiences, anecdotal testimony, and unconscious biases and prejudices which is ascertained by the subjectivism of the present-day reader.
EVERYONE recognizes that Eisegesis is bad methodology (even if they don’t know the term).
And EVERYONE believes they are right, therefore they MUST be using Exegesis.
Thus, eisegesis is usually relegated to those TV evangelists trying to get your money while they sail away on their yacht. In other words, we are usually taught that those using eisegesis are doing it on purpose.
So you see a lot of definitions of eisegesis such as this:
But that doesn’t explain our list of opposing doctrines, does it?
Your average Methodist (who believes in free-will) and your average Calvinist (who believes in pre-destination) can't both be right. But neither one is making the scripture say "what he wants it to say."
He's making it say what he honest-to-God believes it says.
It's much fairer to explain it like this:
Let me give you an example that might just blow your mind. Before we go any further, let it be clearly known that I believe that Jesus is:
100% God and 100% Man
So with that understood, let’s look at the titles Son of God and Son of Man in the context of both a Jewish and a Greek cultural.
We’ve heard it preached a million times that the Son of God title speaks of Jesus’ divinity, and the Son of Man title speaks of Jesus' humanity.
(Now remember, I believe in Jesus’ divinity. John 1:1 is probably the clearest verse supporting Jesus’ divinity.)
Son of God in Judaism is NOT a divine title.
Son of God is a divine title in Greek and Roman mythology.
Hercules and Perseus being two well-known examples (of demigods), but let’s take Ares, the god of war, son of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera.
Now realize that you are living in a time where Zeus and Hera are just as real to people as Jesus and God the Father are to you. They weren’t just characters in fantasy movies and TV shows.
If Ares came up to someone and said, “Hear me, Ares, Son of God, fight with me in this war,” he is claiming authority by invoking his divinity.
So it would be completely natural for a Greek or Roman reading the New Testament to come to a conclusion that Jesus’ referencing himself as Son of God meant he was claiming divinity.
Note that the Greek or Roman Christian is not making the text say what he wants it to say for any personal gain or to justify sin – he is simply unconsciously bringing his beliefs (subjective to his culture) to the text.
But in the Old Testament, Son of God is a title for Adam, the angels, David, and then every king after him (son, grandson, and great-grandson, etc of David) until the coming of the Messiah.
So in Judaism, Son of God is a messianic title for the Messiah in His role as King.
This brings us to the Son of Man title.
In Second Temple Judaism, the Son of Man is a messianic title for the Messiah in his role of judge on Judgement Day. Its first mention is in the book of Daniel, as a phrase describing the Messiah in his role of judge. During inter-testament times (the four hundred years between the Old Testament and the New Testament), it was used as a title in the Book of Enoch.
(The Book of Enoch was a very popular book during Second Temple Judaism, and is even quoted by Jesus’ brother in the biblical book of Jude—the last book before Revelation).
You may be asking, if Jesus was 100% God and 100% Man why does it matter if pastors’ preach that the Son of God is a title of divinity and Son of Man is a title of humanity??? Who cares if that’s eisegesis, it’s harmless.
But you'd miss out on the true meaning of a REALLY kick butt scene:
Jesus is standing before the High Priest, Caiaphas, on trial for treason and blasphemy. Caiaphas, as head of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high court), is questioning Jesus and growing frustrated that witness testimony is too contradictory for him to pronounce a guilty verdict.
Caiaphas: “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”
Jesus: “I am. And you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds.”
That’s a really cool scene? you ask. Jesus’ answer barely even makes sense except for the “I am” part.
Well, let’s put on our Jewish (exegesis) glasses.
We already know Son of God means Messiah as king, and Son of Man means Messiah as judge.
Further study into Judaism would reveal that Christ is the Greek (Gentile) word for Messiah,
And “coming on the clouds” is a Jewish phrase for God’s judgement.
So let’s read that bit of dialogue again.
Caiaphas: “Are you the Messiah, who will one day rule over me as King?”
Jesus: “I am. And you will see me again, when, as the Messiah, I am the judge at your trial."
So, if you’re not grounded in Judaism, you miss out on Jesus biotch-slapping Caiaphas. In front of the entire Sanhedrin.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s kick butt cool.
Blogging Hi§tory: What it IS and What it is NOT
This is a journey through history, not just the Bible. And not all history, but history as how it relates to God's over-all redemptive plan for mankind. While the Bible is my FIRST source, and the only source that can be relief upon for 100% accuracy, other ancient texts, archaeological finds, and scientific discoveries are also examined.
It's basically a journey through the first 15 years of research that I did for The Chronicles of Time. In other words, this is the non-fiction counterpart to The Chronicles of Time. So if The Chronicles of Time has whet your appetite for more, this journey is for you.
I am not Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Messianic, or Evangelical.
I am Sola Scripture...with a caveat.
Here are just a few examples of OPPOSING doctrines whose adherents all claim Sola Scriptura:
- Young Earth Creationism vs Old Earth Creationism
- Penal Substitution vs Christus Victor
- Infant Baptism vs Repentance Baptism Only
- Baptism Required vs Baptism not a requirement
- Grace-Only vs Lordship Salvation
- Annihilation vs Eternal Torment
- Pre-Trib Rapture vs Mid-Trib Rapture vs Post-Trib Rapture
- Free Will vs Predestination Premillennialism vs Amillennialism
- Assuming the Holy Spirit is not schizophrenic, the Bible is not as contradictory as we finite mortals make it out to be. So really, Sola Scripture comes down to interpretation.
So how does one decide whose interpretation is correct?
The following are my personal guidelines for determining accurate interpretation:
- No interpretation can contradict the CLEAR meaning of any other verse
- No New Testament verse can contradict the Old Testament.
- All passages must be interpreted through the lens of Judaism* NOT the lens of Greek philosophy (After all, it was written by Jews not Greek philosophers)
- All verses and passages must be interpreted through the lens of the culture in which it was written (i.e. Jewish culture, not American culture)
- The original intent of the author (and the original interpretation of the hearers) takes priority over later doctrinal biases
- No interpretation should be based on a verse(s) or passage taken out-of-context
- The interpretation does not require New Revelation (in other words, the correct interpretation was not hidden from the early church fathers and "revealed" in the 1800's or any other time)
- The interpretation does not impose a modern or English definition onto the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek.
*That is to say, Second Temple Judaism (also known as Inter-Testamental Judaism), which is not the same as Modern-day / Rabbinical Judaism
There are very few verses where a clear interpretation does not emerge when applying these criteria.
With that being said, who wants to learn about hermeneutics as it is applied to the Word of God...because this absolutely fascinating, action-packed, battle-ridden love story is dying to be told?
If your answer is Yes, then go here for an introduction to Blogging Hi§tory on JC's website, Blogging Hi§tory, then continue here for the first lesson that continues each week. The lessons are not long, just a page almost!
And if you want to see hermeneutics applied to JC's novel, check out the new release Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium (The Chronicles of Time Book 1). Click on the title to buy/preview. Here is the cover and description:
Where the Dead Breathe and the Immortal Die
The Chronicles of Time
To escape an eternity of flame, Lucifer Haylel, god of Mortal-earth, seeks to overthrow Jehuva El Elyon, God of Shamayim. With rule of Elyon’s ethereal realm comes the power to create worlds, and a sword that can slay immortals. All Lucifer must do to break Elyon’s power is prevent one of his prophecies from coming true…thus begins the ultimate war between good and evil that has raged unseen since the dawn of time.
Prophecy of the Heir: Primordium
Plotting the overthrow of a power-hoarding king, Commander Haylel trains the Malakim in the art of war. Then an omen forewarns that his fate rests in the loyalty of his favored lieutenant, Michael. Now Haylel must decide whether to remain subordinate to an oppressive tyrant or kill Michael and usurp the throne.
I pray your interest in Hermeneutics is whetted now and you embrace this important tool and practice in understanding God's Word.
Thank you, JC Lamont for being my guest and for this fascinating and important introduction into Hermeneutics.
About JC Lamont:
JC Lamont can be found on social media:
About JC Lamont:
JC Lamont is a literary apologist and historian specializing in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity. She is a student of Koine Greek, and a former contributor for the Christian Apologetics Alliance. She hosts an online chronological Bible Study, Blogging His Story, a nonfiction companion to The Chronicles of Time series.
JC Lamont can be found on social media: