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As a field of study, hermeneutics features “the science and the art of Biblical interpretation”[1] to determine understanding and meaning of Scriptural text. From the Greek hermeneuo, it purposes to explain and translate.[2] Hermeneutics bridges understanding from the reader to the intent of the original author, whom God inspired to write His Word.

To Know Jesus Is To Know God

To know Jesus is to know God. Further uncovering Scripture from an incarnational hermeneutic, Segraves expands this thought regarding the intertextuality of Old Testament foreshadowing to New Testament fulfilling Jesus as Yahweh:

By the inspired genius of its intertextuality, the Bible informs us that the God who created the heavens and the earth in the beginning is none other than the God we know in His manifestation in the flesh as Jesus… He is the Word, the Word of Life, the very life of the Father, manifested in genuine human existence[3]

Thus, if one reads Scripture from the perspective of an incarnational hermeneutic, the mystery explained becomes evident. The Pauline Epistles especially bring this understanding to bear. While readers may skip over the salutations, one can gain much with careful study. Galatians 1:1 illustrates the importance of scriptural truth through understanding and meaning by utilizing the incarnational hermeneutic. The passage reads, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;).

rightly-dividing-word-truth

For example, in this epistle, Paul highlighted the Incarnation as he began his deliberative argument to the Galatian ekklēsia (Grk. ἐκκλησία) in the epistolary prescript. Jesus Christ and God the Father refer to the one God and Father of all who assumed the likeness and limits of man. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus was God the Father manifested in the flesh. Paul’s salutation goes beyond validating his own apostolic authority as the bearer of the Gospel as opposed to those who pervert it. He additionally defended Jesus Christ as the fullness of God incarnate–the true deliverer of the Galatian assemblies’ sins (1:1,4).

Incarnational Union

From an incarnational hermeneutic, Cox (2020) stated Paul validated his beleaguered apostleship before those who opposed his doctrinal position against circumcision.

Paul declared he was personally chosen by the risen Messiah Jesus and God, the Father who raised him to life again. Jesus Christ and the Father are an incarnational union. In light of the union, Jesus’ choice was God’s choice. God does not act or choose independent of the person of Christ but personally as the risen Jesus. Paul was chosen by God the Father in Christ to be an apostle giving his office divine authentication before his opponents. Galatians 1:1 gives us the unspoken union of God and Christ supported elsewhere in Scripture (John 10:30).[4]

Cox emphasized the incarnational union. It solidifies no separation, rather “To wit, that God was in Christ” (2 Cor 5:19).

Deity in the Son is the Father

Bernard also explained the opening identifier in Galatians through an incarnational lens:

The deity in the Son is the Father (John 14:10)…Since Jesus is the name of the Son of God, both as to His deity as Father and as to His humanity as Son, it is the name of both the Father and the Son.[5]

Bernard noted that since Father refers to deity and Son to deity as incarnated in humanity, the deity in the Son is the Father. John 14:10 explains the Father is in the Son. An incarnational hermeneutic, therefore, explains Jesus Christ as God the Father.

Scripture makes truth very clear. The incarnational hermeneutic uncovers and translates truth. It plainly makes known Jesus’ identity and purpose for humanity to anyone who wishes to know the truth of God.

Jan Paron, PhD

August 8, 2020

[1] Conner & Malmin, 1983, Interpreting the Scriptures, p.1

[2] Segraves, 2001, You can understand the Bible, p.11.

[3] Segraves, 2008, Reading between the lines, np.

[4] Cox, 2020, Text conversation.

[5] Bernard, 2001, The Oneness of God, p. 127.