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Hermeneutics: Step 3: Cross the Principilzing Bridge

Resources for hermeneutics to help read, interpret, and apply the Bible.

Step 3: Crossing the Principilizing Bridge

Cross the Principilzing Bridge

Question: What is the theological principle in this text?

  • You're not creating meaning. Rather, your goal is to discover the meaning intended by the author.
  • Recall the differences from Step 2.
  • Then note the similarities between the biblical situation and your own. 
  • Identify a broader theological principle reflected in the text, but that relates to the similarities between us and the biblical audience. 

‚ÄčCriteria for the Theological Principle:

  • The principle should be reflected in the text.
  • The principle should be timeless and not tied to a specific situation.
  • The principle should not be culturally bound.
  • The principle should correspond to the teaching of the rest of Scripture.
  • The principle should be relevant to both the biblical and contemporary audience.

True "any time, any place, and any circumstance."

Discover & Define the MIT

  • Define the main idea precisely in your own mind.
  • Strive to reflect what the biblical writer is saying.
  • Give the main idea an accurate description so that the same words can be used in your teaching.
  • Carefully locate the theological themes of the text.
  • Consider the plain obvious meaning of the text for indications of the main idea.
  • Look for pivotal verses in the text which may contain the main theme.

Practical Steps to Consider for the MIT

  • Give a tentative title to the text. This could well be the "theme" of the MIT.
  • If possible, write a personal translation or paraphrase of the text reflecting the flow of the argument in the text.
  • Write out the main idea of the text. Put the theme and complement in full-sentence form. The full statement does not need to be long, but make it adequate.

Helpful Tips

  • Write one sentence that is the main idea of the text.
  • This sentence should be made up of two components: the theme and the complement.
  • State the MIT sentence in the past tense. 
    • e.g. Hebrews 12:1-3. the author compared growth in the Christian life to a long distance race that focuses on successful endurance.
  • It should always be in the form of a full grammatical sentence, stated clearly and concisely.
  • The MIT should precisely reflect your particular text and it should cover the assertions of the text.
  • Finding, and clearly stating the MIT will:
    • Help you avoid the often-heard criticism that expository sermons/teaching lack structure.
    • Give you a better understanding of the truths you will share with your people.
    • Assist those hearing you to understand your teaching.