And now, back to our series!

A quick recap in case you have not been reading along with us (of course, you can scroll down and read all of this yourself, but a recap is in order from time to time.

  1. The Bible is to be read like any other book
  2. Read the  Bible Existentially
  3. 3. Historical Narratives are to be Interpreted by the Didactic

And today’s hermeneutic principle is…

The implicit is to be interpreted by the explicit

I’m going to take this apart a bit, just because I frequently confuse these ideas.  Something that is explicit, in literature, is something that is clearly stated.  “Joe arrived at work at 8:30 a.m.” is an explicit statement.  By contrast, something that is implicit is something stated without being clearly stated.  If I say, “Joe had problems coming to work on time and eventually lost his job”, you might believe that Joe lost his job because of his absenteeism.  However, the connection is implied, not explicitly stated.

The point is, you need to be careful not to make assumptions when you read the Bible.  Look for clearer statements to help you interpret those statements that lack clarity.  When Jesus appeared in the upper room after His resurrection, (Jn 20), his arrival is described in a way that makes it sound like He simply walked through walls to get there.  In fact, the Bible simply doesn’t say how He got there.  He might have climbed through a window for all we know.  Something that is implied, may need clarification.

Bottom line: Unless the Bible says it clearly & explicitly, you tread on thin ice if you follow an implication.  Let implied statements get clarification from explicit ones.