Since the Reformation, Protestant churches have looked to only one man to interpret Scripture during their Sunday morning worship service. This man has traditionally been called the pastor, the preacher, the parson, and/or the minister.
The intellectual study of Bible interpretation is called hermeneutics. Thus, the one-man focus of Protestant church services could be called the hermeneutical him — the man whose professional job it is to interpret the Scripture every week to the congregation in the form of a sermon prepared though much intellectual study. (I was taught in seminary that a sermon needed one hour of study for every minute in length.)
By giving Bible interpretation the intimidating and huge name of hermeneutics, which ministers are required to study in seminary and/or Bible college, many ministers become convinced that they have a unique ability to understand the Bible that is far superior to the members of a congregation.
But is that so? Church history is full of ordinary, uneducated men (and women) who have brought forth amazing insight into the Bible. Jesus, Himself, bypassed the highly educated religious leaders of His day and instead called uneducated fishermen and tax collectors to be His disciples. To this day, everyday Christians can have the Bible burning in their heart!
Perhaps the most effective hermeneutics is not intellectual at all, but spiritual. Paul of Tarsus put is this way: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”
The Holy Spirit is available to all believers (not just to those with the title of “minister”). Jesus’ disciple John put it this way: “As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.”
The Spirit (the anointing, the living Jesus) can directly teach God’s people. He can speak in and thorough everyday believers. This is the meaning of the forgotten and neglected Protestant doctrine of “the priesthood of the believer.” The early Protestants proclaimed that ordinary believers could read and understand the Bible for themselves. Therefore, there is not just one, professional hermeneutical man in a church; but all believers can interpret the Scripture as led by the Spirit.
Perhaps churches could shift from highlighting and honoring one hermeneutical him to highlighting and honoring Him (the living, resurrected Jesus Christ). If we had the courage and boldness to actually do that, we would see the Spirit of God do amazing things!