THE IMPORTANCE OF HERMENEUTICS
Many scholars develop bad habits interpreting Scripture for the simple fact they do not follow the discipline of Hermeneutics The Science of Interpretation. Our daily life is governed by several sciences, such as astrology, mathematics, anthropology. In fact, there are 633 sciences. Knowing these sciences brings about conformity of understanding. In a similar way knowing and applying Hermeneutics brings about conformity of interpretation, which in the end develops our definite persuasion of Doctrine. Perhaps it would be wise to use an analogy of a specific science that will confirm the dangers and problems from steering away from adhering to The Science of Hermeneutics.
Mathematics, which includes Arithmetic, is vital to our daily calculations of facts and figures. Ignoring the principles of Arithmetic will cause mass confusion in our calculations. One of the common principles of Arithmetic is the rule of determining square areas. The formula being Length multiplied by Breadth. Forego this formula and rest assured chaos would reign. Every quote of quoting for the laying of tiles or painting a room will be beyond the norm, for the simple fact, every tradesman will use what is right in his own eyes.
There are those certain scholars who advocate The Doctrine of The Trinity as a New Testament Doctrine. These dear people adamantly declare The Trinity as a New Testament Revelation taught by the Apostle Paul. I myself must admit in the early years of my ministry I believed and taught The Trinity was in seed form in The Old Testament and unveiled in The New Testament. This no doubt was a gross error. I fell into the trap of promoting a common belief among scholars and that being TRUTH IS USUALLY REVEALED PROGRESSIVELY, IT IS NEVER DECLARED INSTANTLY. This belief teaches that a little of The Truth is given at first, then later a little more of the truth and a little more and so on until all of the truth is unveiled. Placing all the pieces of the truth together thus finalises the truth.
What I failed to understand (though Progressive Revelation is true if understood according to The Principle of Revelation) God always presented The Truth first foremost, however thereafter knowing the frailty of man’s comprehension God begins to bring clarity and illumination. A classic example of this is the very first Doctrine that God introduces. By the way, the very first Doctrine is not The Doctrine of Creation; it is none other than The Trinity.
The opening statement of The Word of God introduces and REVEALS God as The Triune God. The Holy Spirit wisely uses the word “Elohim.” The Hebrew plural form for God. The Truth declaring God exists in Three Persons. Thereafter God, The All Wise, begins to illuminate the truth. God sheds light on The Truth which brings understanding to man. This truth is most certainly illuminated as we consider the creation of man declared in Genesis 1:26. God speaking mentions two important words that illuminate THE REVELATION OF THE TRINITY declared in Genesis 1:1. These words being “us” and “our”. Note the plurality of the two words “us ” and “our.”
Earlier I had said the opening statement of Genesis is a clear cut Revelation of The Trinity and this undeniable truth is endorsed when doing a Word Study on the word God in the original language:
- Myhla ‘elohiym, el-o-heem’
Search for 0430 in KJV
plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:–angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.
See Hebrew 0433 (‘elowahh)
THE FIRST MENTION PRINCIPLE
One of the essentials of formulating Doctrine in my mind is based on THE FIRST MENTION PRINCIPLE. By this, I simply mean Scripture has to be interpreted the way it is first revealed by The Holy Spirit in The Word of God. This principle sets forth the pattern of how Revealed Doctrines are set forth in The Word of God by God Himself, which cannot not be altered or changed by man’s personal interpretation. There are two classic examples in the opening statement of The Holy Scriptures. Firstly, God exists and secondly God exists in Three Persons: “IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH.”
God throughout the entire Bible makes no defence of His eternal existence or of Himself existing in Three Persons. No wonder the Bible teaches the following in Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
ILLUMINATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
God is infinite, simply meaning unending in all His ways and attributes. No wonder God is Omniscient (all knowing), Omnipotent (all-powerful) and Omnipresent (everywhere). Man, though created in the image and likeness of God is finite. Man, therefore is limited in knowledge, understanding, power and all pervading (being everywhere simultaneously). This no doubt creates a problem between God and man. The finite can never comprehend the Infinite and therefore God has to use ANTHROPOMORPHIC SPEECH WHICH SIMPLY MEANS GOD HAS TO USE LANGUAGE AT OUR LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING TO COMPREHEND WHO HE IS AND HOW HE EXISTS.
God in the opening statement of The Word of God declares His eternal existence as The Triune God by using the plural word “Elohim.” A Revelation of Truth way beyond our comprehension. God aware of our lack of comprehension then takes definite steps in Genesis 1:26 bringing Illumination to our comprehension of Truth. God sheds light on His PERSON AS GOD. How God does it is so simple. He uses words of Himself in the plural form: “US” and “OUR.” It is also noticeable that God does not leave us hanging in doubt and unbelief for too long. After The Revelation of Creation He brings clarity and Illumination of what is declared in Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:26 authenticates The Revelation of The Trinity. However, the following verse will no doubt gives credence to those who do not accept The Trinity:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27).
In the above Scripture four words stand out and that being, his, he, him and he. These words are vital to the authentication or denial of The Trinity. All four words are personal pronouns. Furthermore, all four words are singular. Do these words dispel The Doctrine of The Trinity? The answer is most definitely NO. Rather it sheds light on the fact though there are Three Persons in The Triune Godhead They are ONE. Deuteronomy 6:4 sheds much illumination of this astounding truth:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
On face value, it would seem as if there is mass confusion in The Doctrine of The Trinity. However resorting to Hermeneutics and using The Linguistic Principle, it is blatantly clear that the above Scripture cements The Doctrine of The Trinity. The Word “ONE” is clearly defined in The Strong’s Hebrew Concordance:
- dxa ‘echad, ekh-awd’
Search for 0259 in KJV
a numeral from 258; properly, united, i.e. one; or (as an ordinal) first:–a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any(-thing), apiece, a certain, (dai-)ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together,
The original meaning in The Hebrew is adamantly clear there is no contradiction to The Doctrine of The Trinity; rather there is the illumination that though there is a Triune God head, They are ONE IN UN ITY, THEY ARE ALIKE, THEY ARE TOGETHER
In closing this vital Chapter, we remind ourselves that though God has revealed Himself to man as The Triune God existing in Three Persons and yet being One in Genesis Chapter One, we see throughout the entire Bible the teaching and validity of The Doctrine of The Trinity. As scholars of The Word of God we must always bear in mind, it is not our personal interpretation that validates Scripture. There is only way that Scripture is validated and that being SCRIPTURE ALWAYS INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE. IN SIMPLE TERMS SCRIPTURE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.