July 12, 2017

The One Biblical Hermeneutic by Clay Nuttall, D.Min.

The following is a pre-publication “sneak peek” at the book, The Normal Hermeneutic: The One Biblical system.  The authors are Hani Hana, an Egyptian national, and Clay Nuttall, who prepares the Shepherd’s Staff.  Have fun.
We have discussed the need for a book on hermeneutics, a book that is foundational and that would be consistent with the normal use of language.   After observing students who finish degrees in theology and still hold to theological error, we sought to find out why.  The answer became very clear: their interpretation wasn’t the problem, varied as it might be.  The problem was that they had no authoritative system of interpretation.
After searching through the plethora of humanly generated systems, it was evident that a lot of systems will produce many conflicting interpretations. Did God intend for us to have such theological confusion?  Is the text of holy scripture so weak that it could not sustain the one interpretation that God had placed in a text?  Was there a single system that would, with major passages, always provide the same interpretation that everyone could arrive at?  The problem wasn’t that God has not given us the answer, but that man was always tempted to add to and subtract from the text.
The answer to the problem has been clearly established.  It was in the correct use of all language in the plain, clear statements of the text. Following this path, this book -The Normal Hermeneutic - only deals with that one system of language that all literature follows.  The Bible is literature, and it is the one book of interest for us in this discussion; but it is a book like no other.  God is the author of this text.  The Holy Spirit produced it, using human writers.  Every word and thought, hence the whole, is inspired, reliable, sufficient, and authoritative.  There is no higher authority.  Anything scripture speaks to is the final word on the subject.  Only one biblical hermeneutical system rises from the Bible text.  It is the normal, clear, plain, consistent, literal use of language.  The faithful, consistent use of the normal hermeneutic is a scientific process, and it is mathematical.  When this system is utilized, it will produce the same answer every time for everyone, unless it is corrupted by human insertion.
Every doctrinal error has its roots in an erroneous system of interpretation or some corruption of the one biblical system.  To practice the normal hermeneutic, one must pay attention to the rules that guard all literature. The focus in this work will be on the correct use of grammar, context, and the historical setting of the text.  These are rules that are used not only for this specific genre, but for all literature.  They are identified in this discussion, as is the proper use of application once the normal hermeneutic has produced that one interpretation of a text.
The nature of this material is foundational.  Philosophical discussions are identified only for the purpose of reference, and they have no real authority.  We are interested in the clear, plain statement of scripture.  This is the real authority.  Once a reader leaves the plain, clear text, the temptation to rewrite it is always present.
One has to ask why it is that various learned scholars go to the same text and come away with a dozen different interpretations.  It is particularly troubling because many of these commentators claim to use the same system of interpretation.  That simply isn’t possible.  Intellectuals argue that there is no such thing as exactitude in the matter of interpretation of the Bible text.  The Biblicist demands that the inspiration of scripture by careful oversight of the Holy Spirit is a verbal, plenary product.  The Bible is inerrant.  Everything placed in Holy Writ is pure and correct.  God cannot be accused of error in the writing of the text.  It is fair to ask if God gave us the tools and ability to get out of the text that very same truth that God placed there.  This, however, is the point of The Normal Hermeneutic.  God did make it possible for us to draw from the Bible the very truths He inserted therein.  It would be a scandalous thing for God to leave the Bible student without the ability to know exactly what God said and also to know that He meant what He said.
Shepherd’s Staff is prepared by Clay Nuttall, D. Min.
A communication service of Shepherd’s Basic Care, for those committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible.  Shepherd’s Basic Care is a ministry of information and encouragement to pastors, missionaries, and churches.  Write for information using the e-mail address shepherdstaff2@juno.com or Shepherd's Staff.