"AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS" The Issues, History and Principles of Biblical Interpretation
By Dr. W.R. Downing
Every Christian should strive to become diligent student of the Scriptures. Apart from a right understanding of God's Word, one would necessarily lose the objectivity of Divine revelation and often confuse interpretation with application, or be left with error and even heresy due to erroneous presuppositions. History reveals such to be common, even among those who seem to reverence the Word of God. As God Himself is intelligent and self-consistent, so is His Holy Word. Thus, there are principles of interpretation which are consistent with the Scriptures as the very Word of God inscripturated.
Dr. W.R. Downing has been a gospel minister for 55 years. Currently he is a Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Silicon Valley and Director of the Pacific Institute for Religious Studies (P.I.R.S.) in Morgan Hill, CA.
Using a catechism format, this book contains an overview of basic Christian doctrine and systematic theology presented in a rich and comprehensive way. Profuse with scripture, each page is written with the sharpness of a theologian and the experience of a pastor. Dr. Downing has provided the church with a reference manual that is easy to use for believers of all denominations.
This book is arranged in three parts. Part 1 deals with the subject of why the Bible must be studied and not merely read. It explains the reasons why God intends for every Christian to be a serious student of the Scriptures. It also gives the main reasons why Bible study is absolutely necessary for the spiritual good of the individual Christian, for the church, and for the cause of Christ in this world. Part II surveys the essentials for Bible study and the basic principles of biblical interpretation. This discussion of the essentials is spiritual, academic and practical. A list of basic helps is given and evaluated for the student who desires an intelligent, practical approach to Bible study. The section on the principles of interpretation covers both general issues and the more specialized rules for understanding figures of speech, poetry and prophecy. In Part III, the student is introduced to various methods of Bible study, seeking to give necessary direction, discipline and organization to the study of the Scriptures. The three major methodologies—synthetic, analytical and topical—are discussed and illustrated in their various aspects.