Hermeneutics - Lesson 4

Special Revelation

From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the implications of the Bible being considered divine and the importance of considering its human aspect in interpretation. It emphasizes the Bible's authority, unity, and inerrancy as a result of divine inspiration. It underscores the significance of historical and cultural context, literary genres, and the relatability of the Bible due to its human authorship. Ultimately, the lesson highlights that the goal of interpreting the Bible is not merely understanding it but applying it to bring about transformation in one's life.

Todd Miles
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Special Revelation

I. Implications of the Bible Being Divine

A. Authoritative

B. Interpretation

C. Unity

D. No errors

II. Implications of the Bible Being Written by Humans

A. Historical and cultural contexts matter

B. Application

III. Transmission

IV. Translation

V. Interpretation

VI. Application

  • This lesson explores John the Baptist's role as the Messiah's forerunner, his imprisonment for condemning Herod's affair, and Jesus' response in Matthew 11, rooted in Old Testament prophecies. Jesus' omission of judgment references confuses John about the Messiah's timing. Believers in the New Covenant, with deeper insight into Jesus, are seen as greater. The lesson promotes patience during suffering and the duty to identify Jesus as the Messiah.
  • This lesson on hermeneutics teaches you to approach the Bible with humility, seek divine guidance, analyze context, consider character roles, examine structure, use cross-references, apply sanctified imagination, and emphasize Jesus in interpretation, all while relying on the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson introduces general and special revelation, emphasizing their roles in inviting people to know God and providing specific truths for salvation. It explores the process of inspiration, defining it as a concurrent work of a holy God and a human author, ensuring every word of Scripture is both human and divine, crucial for biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson reveals the Bible's divine authority, unity, and human relevance, stressing accurate interpretation for life transformation.
  • Learn about hermeneutics, understanding author intent, and different views on interpretation. Dr. Todd Miles discusses realism vs. non-realism, authorial authority, and introduces speech act theory to show how the Bible engages with readers, transforming beliefs and behavior.
  • This lesson delves into theological text interpretation, emphasizing that meaning is human-made, not inherent. Authors, not readers, shape text meaning. Accurate Bible interpretation hinges on understanding God's authorship, emphasizing His lordship, knowledge, and obedience. Presuppositions about God and human nature are vital for accurate Bible interpretation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insights into the challenges of translating the Bible, understanding the continuum of translation philosophies, and the importance of selecting a translation that balances accuracy and readability in contemporary language. Dr. Todd Miles underscores the significance of using the best available manuscripts, avoiding theological bias, and staying updated with the latest knowledge of language and culture to ensure a quality translation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into hermeneutics and biblical interpretation. You will understand that hermeneutics is not about uncovering hidden secrets but about utilizing your natural ability to interpret communication. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible is crucial for effective interpretation, and it is essential to address biblical illiteracy.
  • Learn the significance of interpreting Bible passages in the context of redemptive history. Discover the Bible's continuous narrative, emphasizing revelation's progression and God's plan through the David and Goliath story. See how context ensures accurate interpretation, connecting the Bible's parts into a cohesive story of God's redemption.
  • Understanding the Bible through biblical theology is crucial, as it reveals the overarching narrative of God's redemptive plan, centered on His glory and the role of Jesus Christ, enabling a more profound comprehension of individual Bible passages and their relevance to our lives.
  • Dr. Todd Miles underscores the vital role of historical and cultural context in interpreting the Bible. Understanding the era when a passage was penned is crucial for grasping its genuine significance. Using examples like the virgins' parable and Revelation 3:14-22, it demonstrates how historical context aids in discerning interpretations and adds depth to the message. The text emphasizes that, while the Bible offers some historical context, external sources can also enhance comprehension. In conclusion, historical and cultural context is essential for accurate biblical interpretation.
  • In this lesson on Hermeneutics by Dr. Todd Miles, the focus is on understanding the cultural context when interpreting biblical texts. Dr. Miles emphasizes that culture plays a significant role in both the biblical author's writing and the reader's interpretation. He discusses the concept of cultural conditioning, highlighting that everyone, including the biblical authors, the original audience, and modern readers, is influenced by their respective cultures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles highlights the significance of studying words in their original language and using etymology to decipher their original meanings.
  • Learn how recognizing and applying literary genres in the Bible is crucial for accurate interpretation, avoiding misinterpretations, and approaching Scripture with a nuanced understanding.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of interpreting biblical narratives. It begins by discussing the distinction between historical narratives and parables, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the markers of historical narrative.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles review biblical narrative interpretation. He emphasizes the importance of context, adding that each narrative should be examined within the broader biblical and book context. He illustrates this with Mark Chapter 5, where Jesus interacts with demons, breaking from the norm to underscore his authority.
  • From this lesson on Hermeneutics and Law, you will gain insight into the intricate relationship between the Old Testament law and New Covenant believers. Dr. Todd Miles emphasizes the challenge of applying ancient laws to contemporary life and introduces the key factors for understanding them: comprehending the nature of covenants and situating oneself in the timeline of redemptive history. This process is likened to using a mall map to find a destination.
  • Dr. Todd Miles discusses prophecy's significance beyond predicting the future. It validates God's deity, reveals future realities, and guides our present actions. Most prophecy is about forth-telling and emphasizes covenant understanding.
  • In this Hermeneutics lesson, you'll gain insights into the challenges of interpreting prophecy, including wrong expectations, historical context, conditional fulfillment, and various forms of prophetic proclamations, while also being reminded not to let contemporary agendas override the biblical text.
  • In taking this lesson, you gain insight into the concept of typology in biblical interpretation. Typology involves finding resemblances between Old Testament figures, events, and institutions and their fulfillment in the New Testament, particularly in relation to Jesus Christ.
  • Learn about poetry in the Bible by exploring Hebrew poetic parallelism and its emotional power in Psalms. Discover how poetry enhances biblical narratives and offers unique insights.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses various types of psalms found in the Psalter and delves into their unique characteristics and theological significance. He begins by providing a list of different kinds of psalms, emphasizing that this list is not exhaustive but illustrative, highlighting the diversity of poetry within the Psalms.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into essential figures of speech in the Bible and learn to interpret them effectively, enhancing your hermeneutical skills and deepening your understanding of the Scriptures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses the interpretation of parables. Parables are a specific literary genre with their own rules of interpretation. Parables are designed to teach a single point, although there might be exceptions. Historical context remains essential in understanding parables, as they are shaped by the situations of the day. 
  • This lesson explores Proverbs and wisdom literature, focusing on its distinct genre, interpretation rules. Dr. Miles highlights its purpose, living wisely with God. It emphasizes the fear of the Lord, touches Ecclesiastes' question of meaning, and Job's theodicy.
  • In this lesson on interpreting epistles, Dr. Todd Miles underscores the importance of understanding their structure, argumentative methods, and central theological focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel, even when addressing practical issues within the early Christian communities.
  • Dr. Todd Miles delves into apocalyptic literature, emphasizing its distinct features like revelatory communication and angelic guidance. It unveils profound truths through visions, promoting understanding and righteous conduct.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles explores the concept of perspicuity, which refers to the clarity of the Bible. He begins by explaining that perspicuity is a theological term used to describe how clear the Bible's teachings are. It means that the Bible is written in a way that its teachings can be understood by anyone who reads it, seeks God's help, and is willing to follow it.
  • This lesson provides practical guidelines for applying biblical principles. Dr. Miles emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit, examining the original context, and identifying parallel situations in the present. He encourages applications to be personal, specific, measurable, and time-bound, ensuring they lead to tangible actions in your life.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the Holy Spirit's vital role in biblical interpretation, going beyond changing hearts to enabling comprehension and acceptance of the text. Dr. Todd Miles stresses the Spirit's role in illuminating the Bible, making it relevant to believers, challenging the idea that unbelievers interpret it as effectively, and emphasizing the importance of understanding the text's intent. The ultimate aim is not mastery but being mastered by the text, with the Holy Spirit as a key player.
Hermeneutics is the science and art of the interpretation of the Bible. It's a science because it is an orderly process based on rules you can apply. It is an art because of the nuances in communication and translation.


Dr. Todd Miles 
Special Revelation 
Lesson Transcript


Well, I asked you to think about what are some implications of the Bible being divine. Well, here are a few that come to mind. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it's authoritative. It's authoritative. I read the Bible expecting to hear from God who is the sovereign God. He is the Lord. That's a little different than when I'm reading, say, like Lord of the Rings, which I'm not expecting to hear from God when I read Lord of the Rings, as much as I love reading that book. Secondly, it raises the bar for interpretation. If it's from God, I want to get it right. If I'm reading Shakespeare or something like that, I typically don't read a lot of Shakespeare. But. But if I were to read Shakespeare, I if I misinterpreted part of it, I wouldn't be too bothered by it. I mean, I want to interpret things rightly, and I would understand there probably is a wrong interpretation. But I wouldn't lose sleep over the fact that I didn't that I misunderstood this part of one of his plays. But with the Bible, I want to get it right. I want I want to understand what God means by what he says. Also, another implication was, if every word of the Bible is inspired by God, then I can expect there to be some unity to the entirety of the Bible. The Scriptures were written. Let's let's date the books of Moses, the Pentateuch first, five books in the Bible, about 1400 B.C. Let's date John's apocalypse, the Book of Revelation, about 100 A.D. That means that the Bible was written over a 1500 year span by many different authors. Who knows exactly how many in a variety of places, different cultures, at least three languages Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Those three languages is what the Scriptures were written in. Why would we expect there to be unity as we move from Genesis all the way across the canon to the Book of Revelation? If the Bible was not authored by the Holy Spirit. We wouldn't expect it. It would be crazy. Well, if. If we thought that there should be. We might wonder at the fact that all of these different authors were consistent at so many points. But we would expect there to be a lot of contradictions and and errors and that sort of thing. But because the Bible is inspired by God. There's one divine mind behind it all. And so we approached the Bible expecting there to be unity as we move from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. So when I read the Scriptures, I might be in Malachi, but I can understand that's going to have something to do with Matthew, and it's going to be consistent with Genesis and the Book of Revelation. No matter where I'm at in the Bible, it's telling one unified story because there's one divine mind behind it. And then one last implication I mentioned just a moment ago is that I can expect there to be no errors in the Bible, the doctrine of innerancy. It flows out of the doctrine of inspiration. I can't prove to you that there are no errors in the Bible. You can't you can't prove a negative. You can't do that unless you're like omniscient and omnipresent, which I suppose God is. Right. So but I can assume inerrancy. I can assume inerrancy because of the doctrine of inspiration. The Bible claims to be the very Word of God. Every word in the Scriptures comes with that divine stamp of of authority, of imprimatur. So my expectation is that there's not going to be errors in it because I don't know what to make of the doctrine of inspiration while simultaneously believing the Bible is full of errors. Those are a few implications of the divine aspect. But what about the human aspect? Well, if God wrote through humans. Then I would expect. Historical and cultural context to matter and to be very important as I'm reading the Scriptures and interpreting them. Imagine that the Bible was just it landed on planet Earth as if shot from Krypton like Kal-El was, you know, young Superman. Young Superboy. Right. And and we go to this rocket ship and there's smoke and rubble and we open it up. And here's this tome that claims to be the word of God. Why would we expect historical cultural context to matter at all if that were the case, if it were just dropped out of the sky, like this divine dump of data, divine data from the Lord. We wouldn't. But because it was written by particular people to other particular people in a particular place at a particular time, then historical cultural context matters as we interpret. The same could be said about the different literary genres. Why would we expect literary genre to matter if it was just dropped out of the sky? But it was written by real people who engaged in writing, using common literary styles, literary genres, kinds of writing that the the poets of the Old Testament wrote poetry that followed all of the rules of Hebrew poetry. And, you know, if you're someone like me who is not terribly artistic, especially when it comes to poetry, I read the biblical poetry and I say, Well, none of this rhymes at all, but it probably rhymes in Hebrew. And but then when you learn a little Hebrew, you realize it actually doesn't rhyme in Hebrew either, at least phonetically. And so and I think what good poetry should rhyme. Well, I mean, that's great if you're doing like, limericks and the kind of roses are red, violets are blue poems that I write. But Hebrew poetry doesn't rhyme phonetically, but it does rhyme conceptually. And so parallelism is very, very important. So if you want to understand the Hebrew poetry, you have to know the rules of Hebrew poetry. Again, if it were just dropped out of sky, that wouldn't matter. We wouldn't expect us to have to know human literary genres, especially literary genres, from a time period, you know, 2000 years ago. Another implication, it seems to me, is that if the Bible were just dropped out of the sky, we might wonder to ourselves. Does this really apply to us? Is this relatable in any way, or am I just going to flat submit to it? But the Bible wasn't dropped out of the sky. It was written by real people to other real people. Most of the New Testament is what we call  occasional. That means that something occasioned the writing of these letters or the writings of the Gospels. We know why Luke wrote his gospel. He was basically paid to by someone, someone named Theophilus, to give an orderly account of all that Jesus said and did. We know that Paul wrote to the church in Galatia not because he was bored and had time on his hands and wanted to, you know, occupy himself for a while, but because he had heard a bad report. And so he writes them and says, What on earth is going on over there? Right. It's very, very relatable. Paul wrote to the Galatians because he wanted to communicate to them with urgency that they were departing from the gospel. And all of the scriptures are like that. We should never have any doubt that this that this applies to me. We should never doubt that. Of course it applies to me and it can apply to me because it was written by humans, to other humans. Now, God, of course, is capable, is capable of like dropping something out of the sky that's very relatable to humans. But he didn't merely do that. Instead, he used other humans who were motivated by real concerns to write to us. And so we should expect the Scriptures to be eminently applicable, imminently relatable. You know, God, God could have dropped the scriptures out of the sky, got got God could have dictated them to us, but instead He gave us something, I think far better. He gave us his inspired word. Every word, his word, but every word written by us, by people like us to other people like us. He didn't have to do it that way, but he did. And I think that makes the Lord all the more wonderful and it makes his word all the more wonderful. Now, every single thing that we're going to do in hermeneutics is going to flow from either the divine aspect or the human aspect. We're going to look at human literary genre. We're going to look at historical cultural context. We're going to pay attention to the Bible as God's word to us. That is to be obeyed. Inspiration is going to be our guiding principle for everything we do in this hermeneutics class. Now the rest of the bridge can be filled out much more rapidly. God inspired a human author who then wrote down that message from the Lord. That's what transmission is. It's the writing down of the original text and then the making copies of them afterward. Now we have copies of what was written down, but we don't have any of the original manuscripts. Sometimes we'll will refer to the original manuscripts as the autograph. Please don't say original autographs. That's redundant. It's. You can either say the autographs or the original manuscripts. We don't have the autographs, so we don't have the original manuscripts. We have none of them. We might ask, why didn't God preserve them? Well, maybe the reason for that is because we are prone to worship things. We have a whole church history full of veneration, of relics and things like that. Maybe it was an act of mercy, or I remember even that that snake that Moses made to that the people could look to, to be healed when they were bitten by these poisonous snakes in the wilderness, that eventually that became an object of idolatry and had to be destroyed by one of the good kings of Israel. It's probably an act of mercy that we don't have the autographs anymore, but we do have plenty of copies of it. And so there were there were copies made. That's the act of transmission. But what was transmitted was written in Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic. And most of us don't speak or read Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic. So it has to be translated. And so translation is where we take the meaning of the text, and we re convey it in in another language into a language that other people are familiar with. And the Bible is really the first and most translated book in all of human history. It's also the most retranslated book as well. So, so now we've got it in our own language, but we have to read it. And in order for Revelation to get from the mind of God to the mind of Todd, I have to read it and I have to interpret it correctly. And interpretation is so important that it's recommended you take a class on hermeneutics and well, that was a joke. You're taking that right now. And then then the fifth step, of course, is application and all all else does as no good without application. I'm going to take great lengths to describe to you this this idea called Speech Act theory, where God does things in his word and we want to do the right things. We want to respond appropriately. God doesn't just speak to hear himself speak. He didn't speak so that Bible publishers could make a bunch of money. He spoke so that we might be changed. And Paul, for example, in Colossians 1:28, wrote this. He said, HIm, that is Jesus, we proclaim warning everyone in teaching with all wisdom that we may present everyone mature in Christ. That was the reason why Paul did everything that he did, including writing letters to the churches, the writing of Scripture itself, so that there would be application transformation. Paul wrote to his young protege, Timothy, and first Timothy one five. He says, The aim of our charge is love, that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. God wrote God inspired so that we might be changed. Application is vital to this task of revelation going from the mind of God to our mind. The Scriptures have to be applied correctly. And only then can we say that God has truly revealed himself.