Do People Need to Know Hermeneutics?

Written by Josiah Nichols

April 23, 2024

Free Girl Book photo and picture

How does one interpret a text? Hermeneutics seeks to answer that question.


Do people need to know hermeneutics? Most people when they are confronted with the word hermeneutics ask, “Who is Herman the nudist?” They get the wrong idea. Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpreting literature. When one wants to interpret literature, they practice some form of hermeneutics, some kind of interpretation.

Different Kinds of Hermeneutics

The Popular Method

There are plenty of different kinds of hermeneutics. The most popular method is to ask “what does it mean to me?” This method seeks to find the reader’s meaning in the passage. Therefore, it is the popular method found in interpreting the Bible. So, it is safe to say this kind of hermeneutics keeps one from correctly getting the author’s meaning in the passage. One might be able to do this more easily with artwork, like a painting. However, the interpreter will miss the author’s meaning, like saying the Mona Lisa means DaVinci liked George Washington. The farther one gets away from the context of the item of interpretation, the worse the interpretation is going to be. One needs to interpret everything in context.

The Authorial Intent Method

Hence the best kind of hermeneutics in literature is the literal historical-grammatical method. This kind of interpretation leads to understanding the author’s message. However, there are boundaries to interpreting the author accurately. For example, there are gaps between the author and the reader. When looking at the Bible, there are time gaps, covenant differences, language barriers, geographical variances, and dissimilar cultures between the author and the reader.

Which Hermeneutic is the Best?

When comparing these two different types of hermeneutical method, authorial intent, the literal historical-grammatical method seems to be the best. Just think about it. How do you want people to interpret your message? Do you want them to get your intent or their own? A parent might want to have a child clean their room. The parent tells the child to clean their room. Afterwards, the child plays video games for hours on end. Therefore, the parent asks, “Why did you not clean your room?” Then the child responds, “When you said to clean your room, I thought you meant the room of my mind. Therefore, I played video games to clear my mind.” If one says to interpret the way one wants, all statements lose their meaning.


Do people need to know hermeneutics? Yes, people need to know the art and science of interpreting literature. If one wants to interpret correctly, that person will try to get the author’s intended meaning. Knowing how to interpret correctly can be the difference between life and death when interpreting warning labels. Furthermore, it can be the difference between Heaven and Hell when interpreting the Bible.

More from Striving for Eternity

If you want more information on studying the Bible and how to interpret it correctly, check out the store section at There are tons of resources to help you get started on your journey to interpreting the Bible better. Also invite Andrew Rappaport and Aaron M. Brewster to come to your church and teach you biblical interpretation with their Biblical Interpretation Made Easy Seminar. Andrew Rappaport, Aaron M. Brewster, and other guests on Apologetics live would also enjoy answering your questions on the live show on Thursdays from 7pm–9pm CST with the link to the stream yard at Lord bless you and strive to make today and eternal day for Christ Jesus.

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