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Three Days Vacation In Asia

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted April 9, 2015

RELIGION I spent today teaching hermeneutics to a group Asian Christians, these were not pastors but just regular members of the church. You may be wondering what in the world is hermeneutics? Don't worry, it is not something you need an antibiotic to clear up. Biblical hermeneutics is the science of properly interpreting the various types of literature found in the Bible. For example, a psalm should be interpreted differently from a prophecy. A proverb should be understood and applied differently from a epistle of Paul.

It can be weighty stuff. Biblical hermeneutics is perhaps summarized best by 2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

So, these people took three days off of work to come and listen to a foreigner teach through a translator the skill of accurately interpreting the Bible. When was the last time you took three days off work? What did you do? I am sure a whole host of things, but I am doubtful that it was to go and learn how to better interpret and apply the Bible to your life. I was amazed by the sincerity of the learners today. Sitting through six hours of teaching is hard for anyone, much less listening to it being taught by someone who does not speak your native language.

These believers were as those Paul wrote about in 2 Timothy 2:15, they were diligent. They desired to know how to understand the Bible, because it is a great treasure in their lives. Is it a treasure in your life? How much time do you give to Scripture each day? They know they will stand before God and give an account of how they treated and valued God's word.

I have enjoyed getting some text messages from people while I am over here. How would it be if I did not even read the messages people sent me? It would show them that I did not value their prayers, love, and support. I would be ashamed to go home and say I never read them and I could less about their message. Is that the message you give to God as you neglect His Word?

They also want to "rightly divide". That means literally in the Greek "cutting a straight road through difficult terrain." They are willing to do the hard work, because life is hard and painful and they can only make it through by focusing and knowing God's word. 

The ultimate goal of biblical hermeneutics is to lead you to the correct interpretation which the Holy Spirit has already inspired into the text. It should protect you from improperly applying a Scripture to a particular situation. This is crucially important in the area that we are in where churches grow rapidly and require new leadership.

Hebrews 4:12 declares, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Biblical hermeneutics is keeping the sword sharp!

If your sword is dull due to neglect or will abuse, get into Scripture and let Scripture get into you!

We meet in a one room church on the 27th floor of an old rise that was about as large as my living room. The pastor had a small bed in the corner and has lived in the church for the past 10 years. He was most proud of the Christian books translated into his language on his shelf. It was neat to see that we had read the same and had some similar interests in theology.

Thanks again for all the prayers and support! I will see you all soon. This is a nice place, but I would not take anything in the world for good Ole' Edgefield!

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