What does a comprehensive hermeneutic look like? How does it work?
Why not try it out on a familiar passage:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:9-17
What’s the command? I’d say it’s “Love each other,” repeated for emphasis. “Bear fruit.”
What’s the example? “…As I have loved you.” He showed us what that means. But first, He told us.
What’s implied? Jesus wants me to lay down my life for my friends, just as He has. That we should bear fruit that outlasts us, just as He has. That the Father wants to give us what we ask for in Jesus’ name.
What’s the narrative? The context is the last Passover. Jesus has just washed his disciples’ feet. He has told them that He will soon die. He is reassuring them. He is instructing them. He gives one command. He explains what that means.
What’s the story? Jesus is promoting his followers from servants to friends, letting them in what God the Father has told Him. Is the story bigger than just what happened here? Are His words only for His followers then, but not now? When He says, “You are my friends if you do what I command” tells me that we are in mind here, too; and that may be the reason that the Holy Spirit urges John to tell this part of the story that the other gospel writers do not.
What does it tell us about God’s nature and purpose? There’s a promise attached to this reassurance: If we bear fruit, God will give us what we request in Jesus’ name. That if we obey Jesus’ command, we are His friends.
Now, this is the briefest (and possibly the shallowest!) of all possible exegeses on this verse, but doesn’t it reveal more than if only the first three or the last three questions are explored?
Do you agree that both hermeneutics have value?
In what kinds of scriptures will the old hermeneutic have greater value in revealing God’s message to us? In what kinds will the new hermeneutic have an advantage? Where will both serve us better? What scriptures may remain seen only as in a mirror dimly no matter what approach you use?