I've been watching N. T. Wright's series The New Testament in Its World and, in a certain moment, Michael F. Bird brings up the concept "hermeneutic of love".

Quoting from Wright, N. T., and Michael F. Bird. 2019. The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians. London; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic; SPCK.,

It is a hermeneutic of love.


In sum, this hermeneutic of love is a lectio catholica semper reformanda (a reading of and for and in the whole church, but a reading which is always in need of revising and reforming, even as such readings themselves should revise and reform the church).

What is "hermeneutic of love"?

  • This question may be closed in the absence of a Bible passage to examine. Is this question about this book? amazon.com/Theology-Reading-Hermeneutics-Radical-Traditions/dp/…
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 10:36
  • @Dottard I heard from Michael F. Bird for the first time in one of the episodes of the series mentioned in the question Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 10:41
  • @PerryWebb if I'm not mistaken, the term was brought up when analyzing the bible from a literary perspective (in these series they dedicate a video for history, another for literary and another for theology). Will have to re-check Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 10:43
  • @Dottard yep, just did it Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 10:47
  • 4
    Just a reminder that questions about hermeneutical approaches don't need to ask about specific passages! Think of them as asking questions about the theory of interpretation, rather than the practice of it.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 12:18

1 Answer 1


The "Hermeneutic of Love" is Xian missionary method of NT Wright.

a [Conversation], in which misunderstanding is likely, perhaps even inevitable, but in which, through patient listening, real understanding (and real access to external reality) is actually possible and to describe it as an epistemology or hermeneutic of love."

Wright, N.T. - The New Testament and the People of God. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992).

This fresh vision of creation and new creation makes its way not simply by rational persuasion, though that is important, but through the life-­giving and life-transforming work of the gospel in the power of the Spirit. That work has continued, despite post-Enlightenment sneers and denials, for the last two millennia. The more the Church gives itself to the healing and creative work of love, the more credible its resurrection message will be. As that work continues, so the epistemology of love should take the lead in science, history, politics and economics, and indeed theology.
I have been commending an epistemology of love, in respect of the multiple areas where the Enlightenment’s split world has brought confusion, corruption, and danger. The postmodern critique of the Enlightenment has failed either to stop the juggernaut or to point a positive way forward. But we have the tools to do both. The Church needs to step over the wreckage of the trivial liberalism of the last generation and lead the way—not to a renewed or chastened modernism!—but to a reclaiming of the older Christian tradition of the [missiology of love], growing out of the correlated epistemology of love.

N. T. Wright - https://www.firstthings.com/article/2020/02/loving-to-know

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    When you put 'Xian' in your heading, do you mean to say 'Christian', or is that a word for a Chinese denomination?
    – Anne
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 14:06
  • @Anne - "The abbreviations Xian and Xtian (and similarly-formed other parts of speech) have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634–38 diary" -[en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christians] Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 14:12
  • @חִידָהThe hermeneutic of love. "The more the Church gives itself to the healing and creative work of love, the more credible its resurrection message will be." We should make sure that is written into the Biblical Hermeneutics vision. Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 4:16

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