Designed to help guide an intensive fifteen week study of basic bible interpretation, The Living Word is an in-depth, and yet a lay-level introduction to the foundational principles of hermeneutics. Covering the typical hermeneutical principles found in other similar studies (grammatical, historical, contextual, etc.) as well as other less-discussed aspects of specifically biblical hermeneutics (the necessity of regeneration and the Spirit, the role of faith, the centrality of Christ, etc.), these lessons will prove helpful as a practical guide to studying the bible carefully, humbly, in the power of Christ's Spirit and in unity with his body.
The Bible is a book that contains all we need for spiritual growth and understanding; however, man in his natural state has no spiritual discernment; therefore, unless he has been given spiritual life, with a new ability to discern spiritual things, the bible will be of no benefit to him. He may interpret every passage flawlessly, with a literal, grammatical, historical hermeneutic - but the true, life-giving realities contained in it will be of as little benefit as if one were to pour pure, fresh water down the throat of a corpse. This is not to say that the unregenerate can have no valuable insight into the treasures of scripture; rather, those insights that God is pleased to give him will do him no good - they will only benefit the regenerate. This is consistent with God's manner of working in human history: Exodus 12:35,36 relates how God took the wealth and labor of the Egyptians and used it to enrich his chosen people. Similarly, God has ordained that some whom he has not chosen to bless with spiritual life would give their lives to study the grammar and historical contexts of his word. With this labor he enriches the spiritual understanding of those whom he has chosen, so they can reap the benefits of the heathen's study and employ them for spiritual benefit. Thus, the linguistic/historical studies, and technical commentaries even of liberals and unbelievers may be used by believers for God's glory. However, for the unbelievers themselves, who have no true understanding, their fruit of their labors in entirely lost on them. The bible delineates several reasons for the necessity of regeneration for all who would truly profit from the study of scriptures.