Not long ago at all, I posted a series of articles on Scot McKnight’s book The Blue Parakeet, dealing with hermeneutics. We’re now starting a series of lessons at my church on the same material, and so I’ll be posting a series of posts designed as lesson outlines for the teachers of the adult Bible classes.
The way I do this is teach the adult teachers on Wednesday night, to prepare us all for Sunday morning. However, in teaching the class on Wednesday night I generally find myself rewriting the notes. And so I’ll post the notes on Wednesday, or earlier, and then I often amend them as I have opportunity during the week.
The Blue Parakeet material I posted earlier may be found at the following links (or go to the “Hermeneutics” link on the left of this screen) —
Closely related material by John Mark Hicks may be found at —
The second series, “Applied Theological Hermeneutics,” will be particularly helpful to this study.
Flow of Thought
The theme of the quarter is helping the students have a better understanding of how to understand the Bible.
It’s quite okay if we never say “hermeneutics.” It’s hardly an every day word, and it just refers to how we interpret what’s been written.
The idea is to first demonstrate the futility of a naive approach, to then suggest a better approach, and to finally demonstrate several examples of how the better approach works.
If we have time, we can add to the better approach.
The better approach goes by several names. Hicks calls it “theological hermeneutics.” Some refer to metanarratives or “framing stories.”
Some may ask whether this is the “new hermeneutic” — which is a seriously misued term by some preachers. The answer is “no.” This is a very old hermeneutic. In fact, if we have time, we’ll show where it’s Jesus’ own hermeneutic.
I’d teach in terms of “context,” pointing out that the story of the Bible — God’s purposes or mission — is by far the most important element of context. We’ve always believed in literary and historical context. We’ll add to the mix “the purposes of God context.”
In short, you can’t understand what God is saying unless you first understand who God is and what he is trying to accomplish. Start with the wrong “who God is,” and you’ll get everything wrong.