When we read one article, poem, letter, etc or watching on TV a movie and at that time we try to understand what is the meaning, we are doing an interpretation. In theology, we recognize the word “hermeneutics” as the similar meaning with “interpretation”.
Hermeneutics like to sing one song. One song can be sung in some different way. One people can sing it only in Soprano but for the other can sing it by Alto, Tenor or Bass voice. Maybe also that song can be sang only by one people (Soloist) or two (Duet) or Trio, Quartet or in a choir with many people include. Some can sing that song with the different kind of music colors is like: pop song, classical, jazz, country and so on, and the text of the song is still same. Each people have the reason why they sing it like that without forgetting the original kind of music (when the first time it was sang by the author).
Every person has the right to make the interpretation according to his/her understanding. Interpretation starts from the bible itself. When we read and try to understand it, we have come to the situation of interpretation. People can make interpretation according to his/her background or his/her aim.
Some one who reads for the other people interpretation can make an argument whether he/she agrees or disagree with the interpretation. If she/he is not agree, they can make some argumentation and many reason for it or if she/he really agree, she/he can make support on the interpretation. We can say agree and disagree with interpretation by our argumentation and explanations.
The main thing that we should remember to do in the interpretation is: to understand the text of the bible according to the context of the Bible when it was written (kind, background, author and purpose) and to understand text as the need of the context of to day. Hopefully that the interpretation bring the salvation to all creation. The interpretation to the text in the Bible is known with Old Testament and the New Testament. Old Testament is a good source for our life to know how God works through the history of the people in the past and can be related to the New Testament and to our own journey of faith. Doing on Hermeneutics of course we need the other sources to help us to understand the text, like the book History, the result of the excavation and the other sources that have relationship with the text.
Interpretation can be different from time to time, according to the progress of situation and the growing of the way of thinking. Because the situation and needs in the early church is different with the situation in 1900 even to 2007. Many scholars since long time ago, argue, against and support each other until right now. Interpretation also can be seen how the text important to the reader of the text but the message of the Gospel is never changing. Gospel is the good news about Jesus is the savior of the world
The danger by doing interpretation is if someone do it as an oppression for some people. Recently people recognize Bible words are Gender bias because the words are Patriarchal, so the Bible is used to oppress the women. Or some Feminist made the argument for the Bible interpretation only for the benefits of women and gives the oppression for men. It’s also dangerous to do the interpretation if we do it “so exclusive” (never receive the other opinion) or “so inclusive” (agree with all interpretation and opinion). Misinterpretation is dangerous.
I believe that the words in the Bible were written by people who inspired by God(2Tim.3:16) but we need to use the wisdom of God to spread the Bible by doing on interpretation and help people to understand more about the mystery of God. By doing interpretation we can feel, see, and prove that God worked, is working and will work in the history of the people in the world from the beginning until forever.
We need interpretation because we need to know deeper understanding behind the term “the word of God”. It is like to play the puzzle, to see carefully the pieces of the picture and try to find what picture it is when we success to put all the pieces and finally feel so satisfy. Or like to dig the land and make a hole and dig again deeper and hopefully we find the treasure and dig again to the deepest place with the other tool and when we find it we really satisfy.
We are growing up in this world as the children of God in facing the reality by strengthen our faith and never stop to learn about God, to talk about God and to talk with God (pray).