The “Teacher Training” blog is designed to enhance the Bible teaching skills at our church. Each blog is designed to pull in material on 5 subjects:
- The character of a teacher
- The prayer life of a teacher
- The Bible knowledge of a teacher
- The study skills (hermeneutics) of a teacher
- The presentation skills of a teacher
This lesson is focusing on subject #4. The study will look at two (2) principles.
May God bless your preparation to teach!
The study skills (hermeneutics) of a teacher
This March 2023 we held a Teacher Training Day at CFC. We went over key principles of hermeneutics. Over the next several months, I am going to define and illustrate the 17 principles. Yet, know the 17th principle deals with Figures of Speech where we have 18 different figures. This will be a very profitable study.
We begin with these two principles:
1A. Principles of Hermeneutics:
1B. Single Meaning
This is the belief that a text has one intended sole meaning. It does not have multiple meanings. Our goal is not to find what a text means to me. The goal of interpretation is to find the one sole intended meaning of a text using other hermeneutical principles. But this principle of single meaning is the goal.
Example. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” John 14:6.
The single meaning is that Jesus is attesting to the fact that He Himself is the focal point of faith for a person to have a relationship with God the Father. This relationship based on the context is regarding eternal life and the exclusivity that only Jesus brings. There is no other salvation system that will get a person to heaven.
Walter Kaiser in his landmark book, Toward an Exegetical Theology says this:
“Is meaning indeed singlefold? Must that single meaning be located solely in the author’s truth-intentions and his own usage of his words? Keil’s response was unequivocal: “Yes,” and the method the exegete must employ is grammatico-historical interpretation. We could not agree more wholeheartedly and enthusiastically with this answer and projected methodology for exegesis.” 
So, when teaching, strive to find one meaning of the text!
2B. Authorial Intent
The principle of authorial intent is that the writer of a text knew what he meant; he had one meaning in mind and wrote with a purpose. The author did not have multiple meanings in place. This sounds simple, yet in today’s science of hermeneutics it is roundly rejected. But a good student of the Bible will not accept the modern lies; the good student knows the author understood what he wrote.
Sadly, the false teaching of today advocates that we know better than even the authors of Scripture intended.
Here are some principles from Walter Kaiser on this subject:
But how do we as exegetes know with any degree of certainty what the author meant by his own use of these words? Here are some general principles that should aid us in lexical enterprise:
1. The meaning of words is determined, in the first place, by custom and general usage current in the times when the author wrote them. No intelligent writer deliberately departs from this usus loquendi, that is, the current usage that is prevalent in a particular age, without having a good reason for doing so and without furnishing some explicit textual clue that he has done so.
2. In assigning meaning to a word, the exegete is on the most solid basis when the author himself has defined the term he uses. For example, the writer to the Hebrews defines “perfect” in Hebrews 5:14 as those “who by practice have [their] senses trained in the discrimination of good and of evil.”
3. A word may be explained by the immediate attachment of a genitival phrase, an appositional phrase, or some other defining expression. This process is sometimes referred to as glossing. It may be illustrated by Ephesians 2:1—to his declaration that “you are dead” Paul immediately adds the explanation, “in trespasses and sins.” Often an author may add an editorial comment by way of explanation. For example, in John 2:19 Jesus says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” John explains in verse 21, “He spoke this of the temple of his body.” Again, Jesus says in John 7:37–38, “If any one thirsts, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his inner being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” John knew this would be a troublesome phrase for many who had not personally heard Jesus, so he explains in verse 39, “This he said about the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.” 
So, when we teach, we are to be looking to understand what the original author meant; for the author did have a purpose in writing.