Interpreting scripture is necessary to Christian life, whether a Christian is seeking leadership in ministry or simply trying to gain understanding of scripture. Whatever end of the spectrum one falls on it is essential to interpret scripture correctly. There is a certain method to interpreting that will lead the interpreter towards success, this is the hermeneutical method. This method looks at the text of study then moves to the chapter it is in, then the book, testament, other testament, and finally the entire message of the Bible. When looking at these different sections, it is essential to research the historical and literary components of the passage. Below is an example of the hermeneutical process being put into practice on a passage from the book of Zephaniah. This student has spent time looking into the context and background of the passage and has come to an individual interpretation of Zephaniah 1:14-18.
The text below is part of the prophecy given by Zephaniah to the people of Judah. This passage ends chapter one with the judgment that is imminent since the people of Judah have been continually disobedient towards God. The original text was written in Hebrew, a Hebrew translation of the text of study follows the English. The text reads:
“The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the loft battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.”
“קָרֹוב יֹום־יְהוָה הַגָּדֹול קָרֹוב וּמַהֵר מְאֹד קֹול יֹום יְהוָה מַר צֹרֵחַ שָׁם גִּבֹּֽור׃יֹום עֶבְרָה הַיֹּום הַהוּא יֹום צָרָה וּמְצוּקָה יֹום שֹׁאָה וּמְשֹׁואָה יֹום חֹשֶׁךְ וַאֲפֵלָה יֹום עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶֽל׃יֹום שֹׁופָר וּתְרוּעָה עַל הֶעָרִים הַבְּצֻרֹות וְעַל הַפִּנֹּות הַגְּבֹהֹֽות׃ וַהֲצֵרֹתִי לָאָדָם וְהָֽלְכוּ כַּֽעִוְרִים כִּי לַֽיהוָה חָטָאוּ וְשֻׁפַּךְ דָּמָם כֶּֽעָפָר וּלְחֻמָם כַּגְּלָלִֽים׃גַּם־כַּסְפָּם גַּם־זְהָבָם לֹֽא־יוּכַל לְהַצִּילָם בְּיֹום עֶבְרַת יְהוָה וּבְאֵשׁ קִנְאָתֹו תֵּאָכֵל כָּל־הָאָרֶץ כִּֽי־כָלָה אַךְ־נִבְהָלָה יַֽעֲשֶׂה אֵת כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָֽרֶץ׃ ס”
Zephaniah Chapter One
The text of study is found in Zephaniah Chapter one. This chapter is concerned with one central idea, the judgment of God toward the people of Judah and Jerusalem on the Day of the LORD. This was directed to the people of Judah and the capital...