After believing that the scriptures are true, my second foundation is that the scriptures are to be understood by the light of its own self revelation. The second foundation by which I build all others is a presuppositional hermeneutic. Hermeneutics is a term for one’s method of interpreting the Bible. The understanding of a Reformed presuppositional hermeneutic is that the scriptures are true and in knowing the scriptures we can understand their clear meaning. The Reformers developed hermeneutical principles during the time of independency from the Roman Catholic Church. The Reformers emphasized the perspicuity of Scripture, intra-Scriptural interpretation and grammatical-historical interpretation.
“The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly” (Westminster Confession: 1. IX). This engenders the view that understanding can be brought to a passage through means of a wider Biblical knowledge, combined with a self-awareness (knowing God and knowing ourselves in light of that) which has been fostered from the scriptures themselves.
Now while the non-Christian will try to express a worldview through agnosticism, the Christian uses the moral and spiritual code of the scriptures to comprehend both themselves and God. For God himself is unchanging, however, human believers can and do change to be transformed to the image of the likeness of the son.
When Christian figures have differences of opinion regarding theology and doctrine it is due to hermeneutics, the manner and means that we understand what the scriptures say, for we can read the same words but we might see different things. To use the whole revelation of scripture by which to understand a part, one is held by certain parameters in drawing conclusions. This creates safety and assurance in translation and application.
The historical-grammatical method of hermeneutics is to understand the original meaning of the first author, through consideration of the social context of the first audience (historical) and the words and their forms used in the message (grammatical). Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις and ἐξηγεῖσθαι ’to lead out’) is a specific interpretation of a particular text, using methods of hermeneutics to bring understanding.
I believe that the more we know about the historic backgrounds of the people encapsulated in the Biblical storyline the better prepared we are to understand the meaning of the message contained therein. It is time we took off our twenty-first century glasses and let the scriptures speak for themselves. This is a sure foundation.
Go to Foundation 3 to read more.