Hermeneutics - The rules and principles by which we study a text.
Classic Hermeneutics - The rules and principles by which we study classic literature.
Sacred Hermeneutics - The rules and principles by which we study the sacred text of Holy Writ.
Ten Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation Agreed Upon By Most if Not All Historic Baptists
1. The Bible as we know it, 66 books, contains the infallible inherent word of God.
2. The New Testament is the final revelation of God, and the final interpreter of the fulfillment of the Old Testament.
3. Apply the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation.
A. Literal - We take scripture literally, as God's actual word.
B. Grammatical - God has communicated through human authors, to human audiences.
C. Historical - There is a historic context that we must apply to the text.
4. Scripture interprets scripture, never tradition.
5. Perspicuity of scripture, in that it can be understood (and should be read and studied) by the layman.
6. Unity of scripture. The Old Testament and New Testament are complimentary of each other, not contradictory.
7. Diversity of scripture. Scripture is written by various authors, in various historical contexts, and each should be considered in interpretation.
8. The New Testament clarifies and explains the types and shadows in the Old Testament.
9. Typology of scripture. Old Testament scripture is filled with types and pictures of the coming Christ. Again, these are explained in the New Testament.
10. Near context is related more than far context. In other words, if Paul uses an illustration of a vine, we should look at the immediate context for the understanding. If he quotes an Old Testament passage we might find it's meaning there. But to go to Peter who perhaps could be speaking of a vine as an analogy of sin growing, and apply to Paul's analogy which is actually speaking of the kingdom growing, we greatly abuse scripture.
Finally, a didactic or systematic study of a subject is more significant than a historical or descriptive narrative. In other words we derive our doctrine of public corporate worship by studying the New Testament Epistles which command various elements be found in worship. For example, this is more profitable than reading the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and then determining our worship based upon what we see happening in various situations found in that historic narrative which chronicles many happenings in an infant New Testament Church.
I posted this because I genuinely believe that developing a proper hermeneutic is a key factor in Baptists rediscovering their historic faith. These easy to understand principles are expounded upon by Fred Malone at the 2005 Southern Baptist Founders Conference, and can be heard here. May the Lord bless your study in the wonderful words of life!