Wilma's Biblical Hermeneutic

I use a biblical hermeneutic of reception, admission, and exhibition.

Reception includes acceptance and gratitude for what is present in the text as it stands today.  Reception means I can hold apparent contradictions in my mind, either with some harmonization or without harmonization. Reception means I accept the earliest authorship dates thinkable for most compositions, recognizing the presence of early authorial collaboration and further editorial collaboration. Reception means I expect divine and other supernatural presence and intervention both in the human lives and events and in the writing about them. Reception means I accept the presence and validity of miracles, predictions, and direct divine instruction, and therefore do not have to posit a late date for the writing of Torah or of Gospels.

These are my assumptions that attend my hermeneutic of reception: 1) God as the everlasting Father and Creator of all, 2) Jesus as the forever pre-existent Son of God, 3) the Holy Spirit as God also; 4) angels both good and bad, 5) the devil as an angel leader gone bad and motivated to bring other creatures into rebellion with him, 6) miracles that break into the temporal uniformity of nature, 7) the virgin birth, redemptive death, victorious resurrection, and bodily ascension of Jesus, 8) the special interest of Jesus now to look after the people who believe in God, 9) the goodness of God and all of the original creation, 10) the drastic break in divine-human relationship, 11) the possibility of human restoration to God and goodness, and 12) the efficacy of God and good to win in the end.

Admission includes a limited view of my ability or authority to understand and harmonize all apparent contradictions. Admission means I accept with gratitude what’s there, and admit my limitations in expounding on what is present in the text and especially on what is not present in the text. Admission means I stop myself from thinking or claiming that I have the only right interpretation. Admission means I intend to combine prayer with Bible study, and I expect the Holy Spirit to be as active in getting the texts interpreted as I believe He was in getting them written down and preserved.

Exhibition includes a joy in the art and interrelatedness of Scripture, in form, conventions, and devices, and in tracing their impact within the current material and on the current audience. Exhibition includes an ecstacy in the otherworldliness of Scripture: in the character, government, and purposes of God; and in the love, power, and wisdom of God’s interaction with humans. Exhibition means my preaching is testimony of what I find in the Bible, like an artist exhibiting an admired masterwork, or like a scientist describing his or her newest or best eureka.