Biblical Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics is a fairly long word that I was introduced to my senior year in college at HBU.  I needed to take a senior seminar and the only one that fit was a class entitled Biblical Hermeneutics.  I wish I could say that I walked out of that class and had a strong understanding of what it was all about, but I truly don’t know if I retained any of the information that I learned in that seminar.  However, I was reintroduced to the term in my seminary studies and the field has since become very important to me.

Hermeneutics is the study of understanding.  More directly, Biblical Hermeneutics, is the attempt to understand what the Bible is truly saying.  To understand the Bible like most things, you must first read the text in question, and then begin to ask a series of questions to determine the meaning.  The most important of questions is the question of context.  Who is the audience? What else was said at the time?  Who is the author and what is the purpose of the book that the text is within?  These probing questions point us toward the true meaning of the text.

I could say that the parable of the wineskin or the patch are parables teaching us to stop hanging out with people who are not like us, but that is not what the context demands.  The parable was told in response to the question about fasting, not a question about friends and followers.

The good news is the majority of the Bible is plain and clear, and even taught accurately.  However, there are a minority of passages that have been misused by pastors and teachers, so much over the generations, that the true meaning of a passage is hidden or obstructed.  In Sunday School we looked at one of those passages.  It is the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15.

You likely know the story.  A shepherd has 100 sheep and one wandered off.  The shepherd then left the 99 to find his one missing sheep.  Upon recovering this sheep he returns home and a huge party is thrown because the lost sheep has been found.  The most popular interpretation of this passage is that the shepherd is God/Jesus and that he would risk it all to save one lost sheep.  While this is certainly true of what Jesus did on the cross, this is not the meaning of the passage.

A brief look at the context shows that Jesus was responding to the Pharisees who had criticized him for hanging out with the “sinners.” So Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Which one of you, if you had a hundred sheep…” The shepherd in the story is the Pharisees, and the point of the story is that lost people are more important than lost property, and the Pharisees, who we are told earlier loved stuff, were unwilling to see the importance of the “sinners.”

As a parent I want to encourage you to read well with your kids.  Help them understand what the Bible is truly saying.  Don’t settle for anything less.  If I can help, I’d love to.  Do your best to lead your kids to love the Lord.  Keep up the good work!

What is Church?

This weekend we did a quick overview of the purpose of the church in high school Sunday School.  We looked at the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3 as a model of what the church should not look like.  That church was confident in their wealth and not in the power of the gospel, and God was disgusted with that church to the point that he wished to spit them from his mouth.  The Laodicean church is the sort of church that is easy to fall into in suburban America.  The felt need for God is lacking, and our wealth and desire for more things blinds us to the fact that we are spiritually poor.

The students then discussed what some of the purposes for the church were, and also examined if KBC (specifically the youth group) was meeting these purposes or falling short.  One of the purposes that we spent a significant amount of time on was that of Christian fellowship.  The majority of our teens are welcoming to insiders and outsiders, however the group admitted we are lacking in the area of spiritual fellowship, in which the group is actively praying for each other as needed.  So this week we gathered specific prayer needs (tests, assignments, etc.) and I will text our high schoolers those needs on the day where prayer is needed.  Hopefully this will encourage our teens to think about their opportunity and obligation to hold their friends up in prayer.

We also had a parent meeting this Sunday.  If you missed the meeting there is some information that I’d like to get you.  Overall the meeting went well, and the vision for the group was laid out.  One point of interest is that we NEED volunteers to work at Frontline, and if all you parents volunteer you will only have to work every 6-8 weeks (that’s a pretty sweet deal).  Keep up the good work!

Super Sunday

We had a great Sunday!

The morning began with a great group during Sunday School.  The teens began signing up for small groups and many expressed excitement about our upcoming High School/Middle School mentoring that we will kickoff in the coming weeks.  Encourage your youth to be involved in the ministry opportunities.

I had the privilege to sit in with the high school Sunday school class and enjoyed my time watching the students process, digest, and apply the book of Galatians.  Duff did a great job at leading the students in discussion.  If you want to spend some time talking with your high school students, they focused on the issue of obedience to the Old Testament law (specifically circumcision) as opposed to salvation by faith alone.  Both the girls and the guys groups broke down their specific chapters and were even able to add some application that they drew out of the scripture.

The day wrapped up with a GREAT Super Bowl party at the Zaruba’s house.  We had around 35 teens there and it truly was a good time.  Pictures to come soon!  Thanks for supporting the student ministry at KBC, I am looking forward to Frontline this Wednesday.