The way a person handles the Scriptures tells us a lot about their view and opinion of the Bible, himself, and his audience. Case in point: Benny Hinn and his bizarre hermeneutics.
Usually, the authority of the interpreter of Scripture is established by his training, his ecclesiastical investiture and proven accuracy over time. In other words, he’s gone to seminary, been ordained, and his track record has been accurate. Benny Hinn possesses none of these, so he relies on other things, namely (1) Insider’s knowledge, (2) Divine origins of his teachings, and (3) Novelty.
We will look at each.
(1). Insider’s knowledge. This is what has historically been called Gnosticism. It is the claim to some secret knowledge that only the initiated are attune to. In many of his writings, Hinn has stratified Christians into four levels, the fourth being those, who like him, have the “anointing.” Worse than that though, he appeals to his Middle Eastern heritage as if it somehow, by osmosis, gave him inside knowledge of the biblical world that is unavailable to us poor Westerners.
Here are his own words referring to Malachi 3:10: “Listen! Every time you give, God promises revival. ‘Windows of heaven’ deal with revival. And believe me when I tell you, I am an Israelite, from Israel, and I can read this thing in Hebrew and tell ya. And I know the culture and the tradition and the mentality… He says, ‘And ye shall be a delightsome land.’ And the word ‘delightsome,’ I looked it up – remember I am from that part of the world. The word ‘delightsome’ means in Hebrew ‘highly desired.’ 1990 Praise-a-thon.
So much could be said in response to this short excerpt, but notice these few things: First, he is NOT an Israelite. Hinn is an Arab. That has been firmly established by dozens of investigations into his past. He is not Jewish. Secondly, if he knows Hebrew so well, why does he have to, as he says, “look it up?” Thirdly, there is no Scriptural evidence that the word ‘windows’ always means ‘revival.’ Usually it means the same thing we mean when we say ‘window.’
In his sermon, “Who is this Jesus,” from March of 1994, he again asserts, “I am an Israelite. I know something that most Westerners don’t know.”
Here is where the accusation of Gnosticism I made earlier rears its ugly head. Since when is knowledge of Scripture dependant on where one was born? Never mind the fact that Hinn is a liar. He isn’t an Israelite. Besides, the Jews of Jesus’ day were both Israelites and true Jews. They spoke, read and understood the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet when the Messiah their Scriptures had foretold came, they failed to recognize Him.
Without fail, whenever Hinn appeals to his imaginary Jewish roots, his interpretation of the passage is always out in left field. His insider’s knowledge never leads him to a correct exegesis of the passage he boasts of understanding.