Just wanted to share some good words on the three major methods of biblical interpretation today. I gleaned this information from R.C. Sproul’s lectures on the principles of biblical interpretation.
1. Grammatico-Historical Approach
This is the orthodox Christian (and right) approach to biblical interpretation. This views looks to discover the original meaning of the text and to bridge the gap between the time Scripture was written and today’s culture when interpreting the text. It gives the interpreter the opportunity to point out the listener’s cultural situation as it pertains to the passage. The goal is not to allow our own coloring of the text to distort the original meaning.
2. Religious-Historical Approach
This approach takes the view that religion, like everything else in human history, is continually evolving from simple to complex. All religions emerged from primitive practices. It reads the Old Testament through this false lens and approaches the text as if it doesn’t align with the New Testament.
3. Existential Approach
This approach is not really interested in the original historical situation. It’s looking for a theology that’s timeless. It views redemption as a vertical thing, not grounded in history. This approach says, I want to experience it personally. It says, The Bible only becomes to Word of God when God speaks directly to me through it. It’s relativistic. There are no absolutes in the existential approach to biblical interpretation.
Personally, I think this approach is the mores of our current culture. People interpret Scripture in very selfish, egotistical ways. Scripture becomes about them when they interpret it existentially. The grammatico-historical approach helps avoid all of this.