Hermeneutics in Romans: Paul's Approach to Reading the Bible
"And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" (Luke 10:25-26)
Eternal life is found within the pages of Holy Scripture, both in the Old Testament Torah referred to as "the Law" in this exchange between Jesus and the lawyer, and in the New Testament written in the wake of Christ's resurrection. But as Jesus points out, it matters how you read Holy Scripture, and this is where the art of hermeneutics, the study of interpretation, makes its entrance.
In Hermeneutics in Romans, Dr. Timo Laato returns to the old Lutheran maxim that Scripture interprets Scripture. Usually this maxim meant that portions of Scripture that were clear should be used to shed light on portions of Scripture that are unclear. Dr. Laato takes it even one step further. He turns to Romans to study the hermeneutical principles that Paul used to interpret the Old Testament in that epistle. This results in a dynamic view of the Bible, rescuing hermeneutics from the dead atheistic presumptions that have governed academic hermeneutical research since Kant. Not only does Dr. Laato's approach make immanent sense on the face of it, it breathes life into the study of Scripture and delivers eternal life to the reader in Jesus Christ, who proves to be the ultimate hermeneutical key.
About the Author
Dr. Timo Laato is a husband, father and grandfather, who not only serves as a senior lecturer and advisor in the Pastoral Theology Program at the Lutheran School of Theology in Gothenburg, Sweden, but also as a pastor in his home country of Finland. He is an internationally recognized expert on Pauline theology and hermeneutics, and the author of Paul and Judaism: An Anthropological Approach (1995).