Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Love Hermeneutic

Today I was reading 1 Timothy chapter 1. Paul is writing to Timothy to direct him to handle people in the Church of Ephesus who were teaching false doctrines. They had wandered away from the truth of the Word to teach their own perceptions of it. Verse 7 says  they were "desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they were saying or the things about which they made confident assertions."

I'm caught on verse 1:5. Paul tells Timothy that "the purpose of our commandment is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."  In the verses previous (1 Timothy 1:1-4), Paul makes it clear that the Bible was not written to provoke philosophical debate nor to encourage the pursuit of theological bunnytrails. The purpose of Scripture is love.  They have been given in order to incite and perfect our love. 

With this in mind, if my time spent in the Word does not increase my love for God, then I've missed the whole point. I think it's also correct to say, then, if my teaching or preaching of God’s Word does not draw listeners toward a more fervent love for Christ, I have abused the Scriptures. Bob Sorge calls this the "Love Hermeneutic." Hermeneutics is the theory or methodology by which Scripture is interpreted. Because God is love, the Word can only be interpreted through that lense if we're going to encounter correctly God's intent. 

The next time you're reading a passage of Scripture that makes little sense, read it again while asking this question:    How does this passage point me to the love of God? Because, everything in Scripture must be seen as directing our hearts more fully into the love of Christ.  

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