Hermeneutics - Lesson 5

Where Does the Meaning Lie?

From this lesson, you will gain a deep understanding of hermeneutics and the importance of ascertaining the author's intended meaning when interpreting a text. Dr. Todd Miles distinguishes between hermeneutical realists and non-realists, highlighting the significance of recovering the author's original meaning despite historical and cultural differences. The lesson also explores the denial of authorial authority in postmodern hermeneutics and deconstructionism, emphasizing the importance of recognizing God's authority in interpreting Scripture.

Todd Miles
Lesson 5
Watching Now
Where Does the Meaning Lie?

I. Locating Meaning

II. Who is the Author?

A. Author originates meaning

B. Reader originates meaning

III. Speech-Act Theory

IV. Axiom 3

V. Axiom 4

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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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


Where Does the Meaning Lie?

Lesson Transcript


I've mentioned a number of times already the importance of meaning. I've said things like We want to understand what God meant by what he said, but. But what is meaning? What is meaning and how do we locate it? How do we figure out what God meant by what he said? Well, Christians have historically been committed to the idea that the meaning of a text lies in the author's intended meaning. You might hear the words authorial intent. But. And I agree with that entirely. But by saying that we're committed to an author's intended meaning, that implies two very controversial affirmations. First off, it applies that we are what I'm going to call hermeneutical realists. Now a realist is someone who believes that there are things that exist outside of my mind. So, for example, as I look out the window right here, I can see trees and I can see power lines. But if I looked away, I might stop thinking about the trees and the power lines. But that doesn't mean that those cease to exist. Those things have an existence of their own, regardless of whether I'm thinking about them or not. That's what a realist understands. A non realist would affirm the opposite, that things really don't have an existence apart from my thinking about them. But a realist, a hermeneutical realist, would believe that meaning is prior to an independent of my interpretation and it lies in the text. It was initially in the mind of the author, and then he conveyed that through words and it's sitting there waiting for me. Hermeneutical non-realists believe that meaning is not there. Rather, what one finds in the text depends upon the aims and the categories and the perspectives that we bring to it. And the argument of the non realist is that we bring so much to each text whenever we read it that it's practically impossible for any two readers to have a completely unified understanding. It's just not accessible. Furthermore, the author lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and we just don't have access to it. There's too many obstacles. And so why even try? One manifestation of this is what is commonly called reader response. And in reader response, it's the reader who creates the meaning, not the author. The author. Lou may have had a meaning when he initially wrote, but he loses his authority and control over that meaning. And there's no way that we can go back and verify with him anyway. So what's the point? No, reading our meaning is a function of the reader. Maybe an acceptable form of this in Christianity is the home Bible study where we often innocently ask, So what does this mean to you? Now, most of the time, that's actually a good question, because what we want to know is how does this apply to you? What are the implications for you? That's that's hopefully what we mean. But I know you've been in Bible studies where someone will say, well, that's not the meaning I got. What this means to me is and any time I hear words like that, I want to say, I really don't care what it means to you. I want to know what it meant to Paul or to Moses or to Peter or to John. They're the ones who control, meaning not. So it's really irrelevant what it means to you. Now, again, chances are what we probably mean by that is how does this apply to you? At which point, that's a really important question. So that's the first implication or the first assertion. Here we are hermeneutical realists. We believe that meaning exists even before I read it, even before I interpret it, and I'm not creating it, I'm discovering it. But that's that implies a second assertion that meaning is in fact recoverable, that we can uncover the intended meaning of the author. And that's difficult. As I said, we're separated by at least 2000 years, a great geographical distance, vast differences in culture, language. We have this text, It's been copied, translated, it's, you know, we have access to it. But how can we know the mind of the author? Now that notion is under considerable attack in our current culture. Consider, for example, the debate over constitutional interpretation in the United States. Do we go with the original intent? Conservatives will say yes. Progressives would wonder why we would want to do such a thing. They would say, No, no, they lived in a different era and they would say that the Constitution is a living, breathing, adaptable document. With the scriptures, though Christianity has historically been maybe more on the conservative side of that, where we would assert that meaning exist. It was conveyed through the words of the author and that we can discover that through good interpretive method. So to the question, is there a meaning in this text? We would say, Yes, there is. It is the author's meaning. And our job as interpreters is to figure out what the author meant by what he said. I probably should have said authors, because as I've as we've already talked about, there's a human author. There's also a divine author. And the divine author is omniscient. The human author was not. Of course, that raises the question, who is the author? What is an author? And again, in our contemporary era, the that the existence of authors is actually debated. Now, that might sound absolutely ridiculous to you. Of course, there are authors. Of course there are. We have books. Authors wrote those books. But that's not what's being questioned. When people will say authors don't exist. What they mean by that is an author as the controller of meaning doesn't exist. An author writes down words and then effectively disappears when it comes to controlling meaning. And really, it seems to me that it boils down to a question of authority, that the word authority. You might recognize there's author and authority have there's there's some common common term going on there. The roots appear to be the same. The the etymology of the term authority or the meaning originally is a right based on origin. So we might say that an author has authors rights because the author created the writing. The author is the one who originates something. And because the author originates, meaning it is the author who has authority. That is author's rights. Now, we've talked about inspiration that is simultaneously human and divine is a Christian. We acknowledge God to be the ultimate authority. And this is based largely on the creator creature distinction. We see that in Genesis chapter one, verse one. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. One of the most important verses in the entire Bible, because it establishes that there's God and there's stuff that He made, and there's only two kinds of things in the universe, or two kinds of things that exist, God and stuff that He made. If you're something that God made, then you're not God. And if you're God, then you're not something that was made in short form. We would say the creator creature distinction is this God is God and you are not. And I am not and the trees are not. So we would do right to humbly submit to His Lordship. He's the creator of all things and is the ground of all meaning and truth. Now, if the author is the point of origin, then original meaning therefore would be identical with the author's meaning. The original meaning is the authentic meaning, the author's actual authoritative meaning. And again, author would be plural there divine and human. You might. So author authority authentic. All of these words are common root notions that when bound together, reinforce, I would argue, the idea of the Bible's for reliability. God is God. He is the Creator. He's the controller of truth and meaning, and he has written in his word effectively so that we can understand what he means by what he says. What's happened today, though, is that the individual is a free thinker and a free agent is autonomous, a law unto himself or herself. The modern individual reader has become an author in his own right. I'm the creator of texts. I'm the maker of meaning whenever I read. This sounds a little bit like Romans one, verse 21. Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him. But they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. In modern secular philosophy. As I mentioned earlier, there's there's a denial of the existence of authors. What they mean by that is as the determine there's and controllers of meaning. Why? Because authors represent authority. And authority is always in contemporary circles authoritarian, coercive and must be denied. And this is prevalent in a movement called deconstruction postmodern hermeneutics. Deconstruction is complicated, but I would say that it is characterized by a denial of authority that it is the job of the deconstruct or to expose the ulterior motives of the author to show how this author, in attempting to control meaning, is making some sort of coercive power grab. And if we can expose the author, we can deconstruct the text and deconstruction is not interested in in exposing something, then rebuilding something better. They're more like hermeneutical hitmen who leave a pile of rubble behind and are content to walk away. My job is done. I have destroyed this text and I've destroyed any idea that the author would control meaning. When authors are denied, though, then of course, the ultimate author is denied. And so I would submit that deconstruction is, at its heart atheistic, a denial of God in its rightful authority. Lewis Carroll, the writer of of Alice in Wonderland, was on to something so long ago when when he wrote long before postmodernity. But he he was almost prophetic or he was using a bunch of mind altering drugs. But at any rate, he he wrote something that was way ahead of his time in in the book, Through the Looking Glass, Alice is wandering around in Wonderland and she has a conversation with Humpty Dumpty, the giant egg, who, as we know, had a great fall. And they're talking at one point about birthdays and how it's great you get birthday presents on your birthday. But wouldn't it be great if you got birthday presents on days that weren't your birthday? And of course, then they'd be they called them birthday presents. And how many un birthday presents would you get if you got one every day that wasn't your birthday. And so they do the math. And Humpty Dumpty says, to be sure I was. Humpty Dumpty said gaily as she turned it around for him. I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, That seems to be done right, though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now. And that shows that there are 364 days when you might get un birthday presents. Certainly, said Alice. And only one for birthday presents. You know there's glory for you. I don't know what you mean by glory, I said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. Of course you don't till I tell you. I meant there's a nice knock down argument for you. But Glory doesn't mean a nice knock down argument, Alice objected. When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less. Well, the question is, said Alice. Whether you can make words mean so many different things. The question is, said Humpty Dumpty. Which is to be master. That's all. Lewis Carroll was way ahead of his time in there. Who is going to be the master, who is going to be the determiner of meaning? And in our contemporary culture, it is the reader who controls meeting. But if the Bible is the Word of God, then it is God who in fact controls meaning. And that's why I have in the notes. Axiom number two. Hermeneutics is first and foremost a theological endeavor. That is, when we're interpreting the scriptures, we're saying something about what we believe about God, not just the text that we're interpreting says something about God. But the presuppositions that we carry into our Bible interpretation. It seems to me that if we're to interpret the Bible correctly, we must have a correct understanding of who God is and who we are. In order for there to be any meaning, in order for us to be able to prove anything. There must be a God and He must be the God who has revealed himself in the Bible, the one who claims to be the Creator of all things, the one who claims to be the standard of what is right and true. Now, on the one hand, we should read the Bible like any other text with all due consideration given to the factors that set it apart like divine human authorship, canonical shape, that sort of thing. But on the other hand, we should read every text, every other text with the same theological presuppositions that we bring to it and discover through our study of the Bible. As we learn more about God, our hermeneutic should improve our ability to interpret. God's Word should improve. Kevin Van Hooser, a theologian, writes The literary crisis about textual meaning is related to the broader philosophical crisis concerning realism, rationality and right, and that this crisis, summed up by the term postmodern, is in turn, explicitly theological. We have to understand that God is first and foremost a communicative agent. He relates to humanity, His creation through words and through his word, the written word. Francis Schaeffer so long ago was right. God is there and he is not silent. But what does God do in his Word? Have you ever asked that question before? If not, you're going to I'm going to try to convince you. That's one of the most important interpretive questions that we could ever ask. If God is who the Bible says that He is and the Scriptures are what they claim to be the Word of God, then God doesn't merely just convey information. God does things with his speech. And in so doing, he's like every other communicative agent. We all do things with our speech. Let's think for a moment just about what the Bible is. The the Bible is identified as the word of God. That is, to disobey or disbelieve. Anything in the Bible is identical to disobeying or disbelieving God, which says that in the Bible, God said it. But simply asserting that the Bible is the Word of God doesn't tell us how to use it. What does it mean that the Bible is the word of God? Well, I. I gave to you what's called the Scripture principle, that the Bible is the word of God. Others have argued, well, they've just denied it. The Bible is not the word of God. Others, such as someone like a Carl Barth we would associate with neo orthodoxy. They would argue, Well, Jesus Christ is really the only word of God. The Bible testifies to Jesus. And so one way of saying it would be that the Bible can become the Word of God. If if God facilitates a divine encounter with Jesus when you read it. But but the Bible is is is more than that. When we say the Bible is the word of God, we what we are saying there is that God speaks through his word. God uses speech to convey his will. God uses speech to do things. And so I want to walk you through something that philosophers of language call speech, act theory. Now, speech theory is not explicitly in the Bible. You might go to your concordance. You won't find any of the words that we're going to use to describe speech act theory here. So I don't want to pretend otherwise. And yet I think what you'll find is that what speech theory describes is the actual phenomenon of what takes place in speech, including divine speech. It used to be thought that speech was just the conveyance of the state of affairs from one mind to the other. It was almost always descriptive. But in the last 75 years or so, people have been rethinking this and have come up with with what I'm going to call speech act theory. And there's three parts to Speech Act theory, three parts to every speech act. The first is the locution. So a locution cautionary act is the uttering of words or the writing of of symbols or words on a page you have located. Like right now I am locuting. I am saying words that hopefully make some sense to you. I might say hello. Or I'll say we'll we'll take a break in 10 minutes. Right. That's a locution. I've said something that is sensible. That's the locution. The second part is the elocution, though. The elocution is what we do when we say something, what we do with our locution, what are we communicating? So if I say hello, what am I doing? I'm greeting you. Or I might be trying to get your attention. It's up for you. You know, I might say hello. Hello? Hello. The same word can be used to do two different things. One to greet you, one to get your attention. We do lots of things with our words, and we always do things with our words. Sometimes we explain. Other times we greet. We promise, we command. We complain. We are meant, we curse, we bless. We do all manner of things when we speak. This is the elocution. What we do. And then the perlocution is the third part of the Speech Act. This is what we bring about by saying something. And because it's what we bring about, it's largely dependent upon the hearer. We persuade or we surprise or we inform or we make feel welcome. These are the results now, because it's what you do when I'm talking. So. So I locute. And as illocute, illocute, but the perlocution is up to you. And it might not be exactly what I want. I haven't what we call an elocution. Very intense. What I hope to bring about. But what I actually bring about and that's largely dependent on you and that's the per locution. Sometimes I don't have very much authority or power to bring about what I want to bring about. Other times I do that that's referred to as elocutionary force. How much power does the Speaker have to bring about his ill missionary intent? That is, how much power does the Speaker have to bring about his desired per locution? A good way to illustrate this, I have five boys. Three of them are still at home and around bedtime. I might. I might tell my youngest son, Marcos, to go upstairs and tell his older brother Vicente, to get in bed. Brush your teeth and get in bed. And and so I've basically deputized Marcus at this point. So Marcus goes up and he says, Brush your teeth and get in bed. That's the locution and the elocution. What's he doing? He's giving a command. Well, Vicente is not all that interested in obeying the commands of his younger brother, Marcos. And so just I'm not I'm not a prophet, but I know precisely what will happen. He will probably throw something at that Marcos, and tell him to get out of his bedroom. Right. And then I come up and I say. But brush your teeth and get in bed. And then hopefully he obeys. Now, the same locution by Marcos and by me, the same elocution, a command, very different per locution. In one instance, Vicente ignores his brother and stays in the bedroom and doesn't brush his teeth and doesn't get in bed. The other instance, I come in because I'm dad. I have more elocution, Air Force, more power behind my words, more authority, and I'm able to bring about something better. Well, the same thing goes in in scripture, except the author is God. He has a lot of what we'll call elocution, Air Force. So the most important thing about speech theory for us when it comes to Bible interpretation, though, is asking this question, What is God doing in his in this text? What is he doing? Because God does lots of things in Scripture. God tells people how things are. God asserts things. God inquires. God promises. God blesses. God curses. He commands all these things. And Scripture is a collection, if you will, of human divine speech acts that, through what they say, accomplish several authoritative cognitive, spiritual, social functions. Ultimately, the goal of God in his speech axis to change who I am, how I think and how I behave. So axiom number three, the Bible is God's speech to us where God engages us. If it's true that the Bible is this species, if you will, of divine communicative action, it follows that in using Scripture, we're not dealing merely with information about God. We're rather engaging with God himself, with God in communicative action. That means I ought to go to the Bible every time with the anticipation of meeting God where God is going to speak to me. And he He has goals. He does things in his text. And there's a lot of biblical support for the idea that God does things through his word. I'll give you a few verses. Isaiah 55, ten, and 11. As the rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there, but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth. It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Note to things here. God accomplishes things with his speech. And that accomplishment is certain. Bring it down to a human level. Human level, John, 20 versus 30 and 31. This is, to me, the most frustrating verse in the entire Bible. John writes, Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. It's like John's just making fun of us at this point. I know things about Jesus that you don't. But then he writes, But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. We know what John's elocutionary intent was. He wanted us to believe. And so he crafted his gospel so that as we read it, we would be led to believe that's what he was doing in the text, trying to foster belief. It's a he's specific and there's a strategy and the exact purpose. So it seems to me one of the very first questions of interpretation that we should ask, one of the very first, not the first. The first question would be what is the context? But the second question that immediately follows is this What is God doing in this text? What is God doing in this text? And I have a series of verses that I want you to look at now. And and ask yourself this question What is God doing in this text? Some of them you might even ask, What is the author doing in this text? What is the human author doing this text? But look at the list of verses that I've given you. First, John. 513. Genesis 15 five. Romans six, 12 and 13. Genesis one one. And Revelation 21 through three. Genesis 15 six. Luke 153. Look at those and jot down your ideas about what God is doing in these texts. Okay, let's let's take a look at these verses and try to determine what God is doing in the text. First. John 513 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. What's the author doing? Seems to me that he's giving assurance that he has written these things so that those who believe in the name of the Son of God will know that they have eternal life. This is designed to give assurance. Genesis chapter 15, verse five. And he that is the Lord, brought him Abraham, outside and said, Look toward heaven and number of the stars. If you are able to number them. Then you said to him, So shall your offspring be. Now. What is God doing? God is making a promise there. He's making a promise in context to Abraham. But that's what he's doing. Paul wrote Romans Chapter six, verses 12 and 13. He writes, Let not sin, therefore reign in your mortal bodies to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. What is what is Paul doing here? What is the Lord doing here? Well, he's he's giving a series of commands, the goal of which the intent, the locution or intent is to alter our behavior. He's. What is he doing? Commands. Why is he commanding so that our behavior would change? Go back to the beginning of the Bible, Genesis chapter one, verse one. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. What's. What's Moses doing here? Informing about the past, teaching about the nature of God. This is largely explanatory. It's teaching us something. As I mentioned before, it establishes the creator, creature, distinction, things, things of that nature. But. But what is what is Moses doing? His teaching? He's explaining. Here's go to the opposite in the Bible Revelation Chapter 20 verses one through three. John writes, Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he sees the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years and threw him into the pit and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be released for a little while. What is God doing in this text? What is John doing? We might say he's confusing us. He is trying to make sure that there is division amongst denominations on eschatology and in times such things. But. But that would be a little cynical, wouldn't it? And not true. When we get to the apocalyptic literature, I'm going to say that apocalyptic literature is meant to give hope. It's meant to inspire perseverance. And so John here is informing us about the future. He's telling us what will take place. Why? To give hope. To give hope that we know that we ought to persevere because we are on the side that wins. Genesis chapter 15, verse six. We are told that Abraham believed the Lord and the Lord counted it to Him as righteousness. Now, this might be more explanation of what happened in the past, and it's certainly at least that so we could say what is doing this tax. He's informing us of what had happened in the past teaching us. But I think he's doing more here because the the New Testament authors will take this passage and they will establish the paradigm of justification by grace through faith, from from this. Abraham was justified, counted as righteousness by the Lord because Abraham believed the promise of God. And so then we are enjoined. Whenever we read this, I ought to believe the promises of God as well. What is God doing in this text? He is evoking faith and assurance, as well as telling us about what happened in the past. When Mary was told that she would have a child and it was explained to her, she responds, almost like in Broadway musical form by breaking out into song. And she recites these wonderful verses of the Lord. And beginning in Luke 153, something that we call the Magnificat, because of the first Latin word in the translation, the Latin translation, the Vulgate of this passage. And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant, for behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed, for he who is mighty, has done great things for me, and Holy is His name and he is His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm, his scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate. He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away. What is God doing here? What is what is married and what will marry is praising. But why would Luke include this in his gospel account? Well, I suppose it does demonstrate that Mary knew a lot of Old Testament prophecy, so God had chosen wisely. Imagine that in who he selected to be the the mother or to to his son. But I don't think that's the main purpose to show us just how much Bible Mary knew. I think just as Mary is drawn into praise, we ought to be drawn into praise as well. This is not merely an account of what happened in the past, but as we read it, it should evoke praise on our part. As you hear or read the story of Mary being informed that she gets to to bear the Christ child, our our soul should magnify the Lord right along with. With Mary, we should be drawn into praise as Mary rehearses the great promises of the Lord that God is keeping now in her Son. We too should praise. If you read this passage and you are not drawn into praise, I would argue you have totally misunderstood it and you should go back and reread it because to make sure that you get it right the next time, because God is doing something in that text. Always ask the question, What is God doing in this text? One One example of this is a former pastor of mine at one point was preaching through Hebrews, which is not an easy book in the Bible to preach through. And he got to the mother of all difficult texts, Hebrews chapter six versus one through however far one of those great warning passages. Very difficult. What what am I supposed to do? And so he, he, he came to me and we talked about it and he bounced his ideas off of me. And there was a chance for us to, you know, think together about such things. And and at the end I told him, I said, you know, I want you to know, though, that this is a warning passage. That's what God is doing here. And if you preach this passage and I don't feel warned. Then I think you will have failed in preaching that passage. Because that's what God is doing. And so just thinking in terms of application of speed check theory, if we ask ourselves the question, what is God doing in this text? And we're teaching that text. Shouldn't we make it our aim to do in the passage what God is doing in the passage, what the author was doing in the passage. You know, we we we want anytime we teacher preach for our words to be attended by the Spirit of God. But the spirit of God is omnipotent, independent, sovereign, Holy God who does not exist to do our bidding. He is not a genie in the lamp where if I rub it, I can make the Holy Spirit do three things for me. I can't make him attend my words with power. All I can do is humbly ask. And we all wish that every time we teach or preach, we should beseech the Spirit of God to attend our words with power, with His power to accomplish what He wants to accomplish through that. But we do one other thing to. We can study the word and we can interpret it well so that we understand what the spirit of God is doing. We don't want to be at cross-purposes with the Spirit. One of the best ways that we can ensure that the Spirit of God will work through our teaching and preaching is if we do with the text, what the Spirit of God did in the text and is doing in the text. You never want to be at cross-purposes with the Spirit of God. He will win every single time. He may not, depending on his sovereign, will attend your words with power. But I suspect that if you humbly ask. And if you attempt to do in the text what he wants to do in the text. But the Spirit of God will be delighted. To use you as you preach and teach his word. In this with a quote from Kevin van Hoosier that I really like. We should practice the hermeneutic of charity and love. We need to give the author the benefit of the doubt because the author is inspired by the spirit. This is not only our responsibility as we humbly bow before our sovereign God who inspired the text, but it's our responsibility as loving Christians trying to follow the commands of First Corinthians 13. To, which is, of course, the love chapter. And maybe this love chapter has more to do with hermeneutics than it does with with weddings. I'm not sure. Here's a little play on First Corinthians 13. By Kevin Van Hooser. He writes, Indeed, it may be no exaggeration to say that the ultimate purpose of biblical interpretation is to achieve right relationships with God, with others, and with oneself. After all, Christian truth is in the service of Christian love. Truth is in the service of love. Then he writes, If I speak with the tongues of reformers and of professional theologians and I have not personal faith in Christ, my theology is nothing but the noisy beating of a snare drum. And if I have analytic powers and the gift of creating coherent conceptual systems of theology so as to remove liberal objections. And have not personal hope in God. I am nothing. And if I give myself to resolving the debate between Supra and intralapsarianism and to defending inerrancy and to learning the Westminster Catechism, yay! Even the larger one so as to recite it by heart, backwards and forwards and have not love. I have gained nothing. Well, I think that's super clever, so I like to read it, but I think it's really true as well. And think about that. Christian truth is in the service of Christian love. Practicing, a hermeneutic of charity, a hermeneutic of submission. What is God doing in this text? What is Paul doing in the text? How can I give if it is the Word of God and God is understood by us to be all good, all loving, merciful, kind, compassionate, holy. Just. How do I submit my will to his? How do I submit to what God is doing in the text? And I think that's the great payoff of speech theory. It explains what is actually taking place. God does do things in the text and the things that he wants to do in his text, in his word, in us. His children is wonderful.