Bible Interpretation – Can I…

Bible Interpretation – Can I…

Many people today feel they are inadequate in and of themselves to interpret scripture. Some have been taught that way and some are simply lazy understanding that it takes a time commitment to do so. Either way both are wrong according to the word of God itself. Noted below are some principles for interpreting scripture that have helped me along my journey to love, honor and obey God.

Can I interpret scripture or am I dependent upon someone else to provide me with God’s truths as they see them? The answer is yes you can, but our Lord as with all questions provides some guidelines in doing so. First keep in mind that Jesus Church as defined in scripture was instituted by God and designed by Him. In it He gives some members the Spiritual Gift of Pastor, some Teacher and some of the other gifts designed to aid in our search for understanding His truths. They were not placed in the Church to dictate our beliefs but to help us in our quest to find, love, worship and obey God. Our responsibility is to check out our teachers say using scripture to do so. We are to take advantage of those persons using those Gifts and what our Lord will teach us through them.

But as you will note in the principles identified below if for some reason beyond our control we are not able to attend a biblically sound Church with those members teaching, then God the Holy Spirit says that He will teach us. So the bottom line is that God will teach me if I truly seek Him. I will need to present myself to studying scripture and then God will provide me with the truths of His word that I need for my life.

  • I John 2:27a But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you;…”
    • The anointing mentioned comes from God the Holy Spirit to ‘born again’ believers. If you have not yet trusted Jesus as your Savior you do not have the anointing.

The Principles for Bible Interpretation;

  1. Must be ‘born again’ which is when the Holy Spirit comes into us.
  2. As ‘born again’ believers the Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher and uses many means to teach us.
  3. The Church was designed by God to be one of our teachers by those within it using their Spiritual Gifts to do so. The Church if doctrinally sound supports the family teaching and interpreting of scripture.
  4. Scripture never contradicts itself so you can never take one verse all by itself to prove a point. The rest of scripture must support the point or modify it so that they all agree.
  5. You need to understand the context of the passage surrounding the verse in question as to whom it is written to, when it was written, the situation the hearers were in, etc. Most of the NT is written to ‘born again’ believers.
  6. The Bible is not solely a history book. It truths are relevant for all ages. The unsaved will see scripture and the study of it as foolishness.
  7. Bible interpretation requires study. We are to study the scripture daily to please God as those in Berea did.
  8. God’s truths never change so base your acceptance of a Church or an individual’s teaching on God’s word. No Church teaching can change or replace it. It requires you pray for God’s wisdom and your study so God can provide it.
  9. It requires faith to trust in the Holy Spirit to be our interpreter just as it requires faith to be ‘born again’.
  10. God will protect His truths or scriptures down through the ages so we always have them to live by.

The following are some Bible passages supporting these principles;

  1. Must be ‘born again’ which is when the Holy Spirit comes into us. No Holy Spirit = no salvation.
    1. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    2. Acts 16:30b, 31 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    3. Rom 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
  2. As ‘born again’ believers the Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher and uses many means to teach us.
    1. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
  3. The Church was designed by God to be one of our teachers and those within it using their Spiritual Gifts to do so. The Church if doctrinally sound supports the family teaching and interpreting of scripture. Infallibility (Church clergy speaking for and as God) is not taught in scripture. Jesus Church is not any one denomination but is made up of all ‘born again’ believers. The only Church name or denomination mentioned in scripture is ‘the Way’.
    1. Heb 10:25 “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
    2. Rom 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
    3. Acts 24:14 “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”
  4. Scripture never contradicts itself so you can never take one verse all by itself to prove a point. The rest of scripture must support the point in question. All scriptures are in agreement.
    1. The best example would be taking James 2:17 (faith without works is dead) all by itself. If we do we can say that salvation includes works after we accept Jesus as our Savior. Other scriptures like Eph 2:8, 9, Titus 3:5 note that salvation is by Grace through faith and not by any of our works. Gal 2:21 notes that if we can add works to what we must do to be saved than Jesus sacrifice for our sins was done in vain.
    2. Both salvation passages taken together bring us God’s wisdom. What God is saying in James 2:17 when interpreting scripture is that real saving faith will be displayed by our works as a sign of our salvation.
  5. You need to understand the context of the passage surrounding the verse in question as to whom it is written to, when it was written, the situation the hearers were in, etc. Most of the NT is written to ‘born again’ believers and must be read with that in mind.
  6. The Bible is not solely a history book. It truths are relevant for all ages. The unsaved will see scripture and the study of it as foolishness.
    1. I Cor 2:14 “But the natural man (unsaved man) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
  7. Bible interpretation requires study. We are to study the scripture daily to please God as those in Berea did.
    1. Acts 17:11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
  8. God’s truths never change so base your acceptance of a Church or an individual’s teaching on God’s word. No Church teaching can change or replace it. It requires you pray for God’s wisdom and your study so God can provide it.
    1. Mal 3:6A“For I am the Lord, I do not change;”
    2. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
  9. It requires faith to trust in the Holy Spirit to be our interpreter just as it requires faith to be ‘born again’.
    1. Eph 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
    2. Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
  10. God will protect His truths or scriptures down through the ages so we always have them to live by.
    1. Mat 5:18 18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Be sure to check out the scriptures I noted above to see if they are true using the principles noted above………..

2 Tim 3:16, 17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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