Herman and Communication!

Photo by John Dusseault

I’m currently taking a class called Hermeneutics. It has nothing to do with comics or anyone named Herman. It’s a Fancy Nancy word for understanding or interpretation. In my case, it’s specifically the skill of effectively interpreting Scripture. One of the challenging aspects of hermeneutics is it’s complexity along with the striving that is necessary for good interpretation. The challenge is to really make the effort to understand the text being read and not passively assume. From a roundtable discussion I viewed there was a comment on how sin corrupts our efforts in interpretation, which makes it all the more important to work hard at hermeneutics. Also said was that pain motivates. So our pain of sin should motivate us toward a complete understanding of God’s Word that brings peace and real life even though we cannot fully attain it in this life. We tend to deny our own presuppositions (sub-conscious conclusions) and come closed-minded and stubborn. This is something we must work hard to overthrow so that we can let God speak and transform. Beyond the general attitude of striving to understand, there is also the complexity of learning a wide variety of skills that aid in understanding.

Now, I have a wife, three children and a foster girl. There is constant work that must be done in our communication to ensure peaceful relationships. Maintaining peace in the home is difficult when individuals get frustrated about how others misunderstand them. Unnecessary offences can occur unless there is patience shown by listening well. Another benefit to good communication is jobs well done. For example, if my wife is going away she may need to leave me a list of how I can take care of the kids and home. I’ll then need to make sure I clarify with her my understanding of the list so that I can successfully carry it out. Then, of course, I need to put it into practice. If my three year old is telling me a story, as he did about a giant whale this morning, there is a strong likelihood that I will not get most of it. So I need to pay extra careful attention, asking good questions to do my best to understand him. Good hermeneutics is hugely important for Bible study and all relationships.



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