• Marius Nel Research Unit of the Faculty of Theology, North-West University



Pentecostal, hermeneutics, theological training, fundamentalism, literalism, evangelicals


The article hypothesises that the historical development of Pentecostal hermeneutics is closely related to and illustrated by Pentecostals’ attitude towards theological training. A short survey is given of the development of theological training within the Pentecostal movement in order to demonstrate how it accompanied a change in the way the Bible was considered during the past century in terms of three phases. For the first three decades Pentecostals had no inclination towards any theological training; they considered that the Bible provided all they needed to know and what was important was not what people in biblical times experienced with or stated about God, but the way these narratives indicate contemporary believers to an encounter with God themselves, resulting in similar experiences. From the 1940s, Pentecostals for several reasons sought acceptance and approval and entered into partnerships with evangelicals, leading to their acceptance of evangelicals’ way of reading the Bible in a fundamentalist-literalist way. From the 1970s they established theological colleges and seminaries where theologians consciously developed Pentecostal hermeneutics in affinity with early Pentecostal hermeneutics, although most Pentecostals still read the Bible in a fundamentalist-literalistic way − as do the evangelicals. Its hermeneutics determined its anti-intellectual stance and the way Pentecostals arranged the training of its pastors. The history of the Pentecostal movement cannot be understood properly without realising the close connection between its hermeneutics and its view of theological training.


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How to Cite




Received 2016-07-17
Accepted 2016-09-05
Published 2016-11-15