I. The importance of Words
a. Words are the basic unit in language
i. Words carry meaning within the words themselves
ii. Words influence meaning in relations to other words in a meaningful sentence.
Examples: Adjectives, prepositions, words used in comparison and contrast, words that tip off readers that there is an idiomatic phrase, etc
b. Scripture is called the Word of God
i. “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:74)
1. Note the Psalmist puts his hope in God’s Word
2. Notice that Scripture is called God’s Word rather than God’s sentences or God’s Paragraph
c. Since even the letters in Scripture are important to God, how much more are the words and sentences of Scripture
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18)
1. This is Jesus message in the Beatitudes
2. Jesus teaches the importance of letters in Scripture, how much more the combination of letters into word units
II. The importance of Grammar
a. Grammar governs the meaningful relationship between words
Grammar must be followed if we are to properly communicate and comprehend communicated information properly.
b. Jesus makes grammatical observations
i. “But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20:37-38)
1. Jesus makes observation fromExodus 3:6.
2. God is not the God of the dead but the living
a. He observed how God called himself the God of individuals who have already died
b. If we look at Exodus 3:6, we find that God says “I AM the God of Abraham, etc”
i. God did not say “I was”, but “I am”!
c. Yet, he also observed that the tense of this verse
ii. “David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to m Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’’ David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” (Luke 20:42-44)
1. After being challenged by the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus challenged them with Psalm 110:1 and hints from the text to suggests that the Son of David will be divine
a. Notice he observed the relationship between words
i. He noted David as the author
ii. He noted the word “Lord” is used to describe the Son of David
c. Apostle Paul makes grammatical observations
i. “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
1. Notice that Paul note whether seed was plural or singular.
III. Linguistic Theory undermining importance of language
a. Objection: Various linguistic theories and philosophies of language have undermined the meaningfulness and intelligibility of language
i. The above have already demonstrated the importance of Words and Grammar within the Bible
1. While a linguistic theory or philosophy of language were not presented above, the Word of God at the minimum has shown that communication is possible.
a. Because of this, the Christian must not fear such an attack on the faith employing linguistically fashioned skepticism.
Analogy: Just because someone does not understand the mechanics of a car starting does not mean he is irrational in believing that under normal circumstances putting the key into the ignition would start the car.
ii. Meaningful language is possible within the Christian worldview
1. The triune God can communicate with one another
a. See Genesis 1:26, 3:22
2. God can communicate with humans
a. See Genesis 3:9-10
3. Humans can communicate with God
a. Genesis 3:12-13
4. Humans can communicate with other humans
a. Genesis 3:8
iii. Spiritual words can express spiritual thoughts
1. “This is what we speak not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” (1Coritnahsin 2:13)
a. Therefore religious or spiritual expression can be meaningful and intelligible
iv. Self-refutation of bad linguistic theories and philosophies of languages
1. If language and communication can not be intelligible or meaningful, why do the proponents of these ideas choose to express their ideas in written words and in audio lectures?
a. The more they try to communicate their ideas and defend it, the more they communicate and are ironically understood.
IV. CONCLUSION: The Historical-Grammatical Hermeneutic is the Biblical Hermeneutics
a. The importance of Words in Scripture require a historical aspect in Hermeneutics
i. Language and word develops and change as time passes
ii. Yet, Scripture was written at a set point of time
1. To properly interpret Scripture requires the proper historical understanding of the word usage of that time period
b. As demonstrated in this outline, examples from Scripture itself shows the importance of grammar in interpreting Scripture
c. Therefore, in summary: Scripture must be read with careful attention to the historical meaning of the original words, and obeying proper grammar in the sentences of Scripture.