Carson & Piper Discuss the Value of Hermeneutics

Posted: July 27, 2011 in bible, exegesis, preaching, video

Check out this interesting discussion in which Carson and Piper seem to disagree, at least to a limited extent, about the importance of hermeneutics in teaching and preaching the Bible.

My personal opinion is that Carson is closer to the mark, as he offers a much more nuanced and balanced perspective on this issue.  Piper seems to ignore the fact that studying and understanding the historical, cultural, textual, and literary factors behind a text is absolutely critical, first and foremost, for the accurate translation of that text into English (a point that Carson alludes to)!

Additionally, Carson is right to note that the Bible is, at it’s core, a “historical revelation.”  This cannot be ignored when engaging in the difficult task of understanding and applying the biblical text.  However, I don’t think the task is impossible (as Piper seems to imply when he says that a focus on hermeneutics will “paralyze” preachers).  Hundreds of godly men and women have dedicated their lives to studying and writing about these topics.  Christians today are blessed to live in an age of ample scholarly resources, many of which are totally accessible to those are willing to put in a little effort and dig deep.

Modern American preachers have no excuse for neglecting to engage in careful hermeneutical study before teaching on a biblical text.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to read ten books on one passage, but it does mean that they should do their best, with the time and resources available to them, to carefully investigate relevant interpretive factors.

HT: Desiring God

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