Please find on here a few principles I have found helpful in my personal study of the Bible. May God guide you in your understanding of His Word.
Qualifications for interpreting the Bible
- Salvation – 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 Cor. 2:14
- Reverence – 2 Tim. 3:15; Prov. 1:7
- Obedience – Ps. 119:34; John 7:17
- Maturity – 1 Cor. 3:1-3; Heb. 5:11-14
- Holy Spirit – John 16:13
Methods of Bible Interpretatio
- Literal – to accept as basis the literal rendering of the sentences unless by virtue of the nature of the sentence or phrase or clause within the sentence is not possible.
- Allegorical – the belief that beneath the letter and the obvious is the real meaning of the passage.
- Tradition – All Scripture must be interpreted according to the official church interpretation.
- Rationalism – The human intellect can decide what is true and false in the Bible.
- Subjectivism – Knowledge comes only by one’s own experience. The Bible must be interpreted by how it makes us feel. If we feel good, that is okay.
Four Basic Understandings
- The Bible is not difficult to understand – Ps. 119:105, 130; 2 Cor. 11:1-3
- Anyone can get a working knowledge of the Bible if they so desire. There is NO special secret. NO magic formula. An education can be helpful but not necessary.
- The Holy Spirit teaches us the Bible. How much you learn corresponds solely to your dependence on Him. – John 14:15, 16; 16:12; 17:17
- Why must there be rules of Bible study? In any endeavor there are rules and guidelines. Without rules, we would have chaos.
Rules of Bible Study
- Context Factor – There is no true understanding of the Bible without a proper understanding of context.
- People Factor – There is no understanding of the Bible without a proper understanding that the Bible is written to three types of people – Jew, Gentile, and the Church (1 Cor. 10:32).
- Time Factor – The Bible has proper divisions, and you must understand these divisions in order to understand the message.
- Application Factor – All Scripture has basic applications: Historical, Doctrinal, and Personal.
- Individual Word Factor – God has chosen every individual word in the Bible for a specific purpose.
- Creation Factor – The invisible things of God are understood by the creation which He has made.
- Comparison Factor – The Bible is of no private interpretation. We understand His Word by comparing Scripture with Scripture. The Bile is a self-interpreting Book. 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:9-14.
- Consistency Factor – The Bible must be understood in the light of God’s consistency. God sets up patterns. Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8
- Literal Factor – Always take a passage literally until it is impossible to do so, or if we have the clear instruction of Scripture that we are dealing with symbolism.
- Attitude Factor – Always be prepared to change whatever you have been taught or you have believed when it goes contrary to the Bible. Never make the Bible line up with what you believe. Always line yourself up with what the Bible clearly says.
- Clarity Factor – Never violate a clear passage when trying to understand an obscure passage. Don’t twist a passage to make it fit.
- Question Factor – Never base a doctrine on a question. Questions are designed to amplify or help explain something.
- Confirmation Factor – Never base a doctrine on a single verse or passage.
- Maturity Factor – When coming upon a passage that you do not understand, yu must never violate the principles of “Bible study. If you still can’t understand it, either God does not choose to reveal it, or you’re simply not ready for it. The Word is ‘spiritually discerned.’ John 16:12
- Apparent Contradiction Factor – Always give the Bible the benefit of the doubt. There are not contradictions, only ‘apparent’ contradictions. God makes no mistakes.
- First Mention Factor – The first time a word or theme is mentioned in Scripture often sets the standard for its continued use through the Bible.
Keys to Biblical Understanding
- The two most important words in the Bible for Bible understanding: “like” and “as.”
- The Bible is a ‘Picture Book.’ These pictures are discovered by comparing Scripture with Scripture.
- The Bible comes alive through the use of types. A type is simply a foreshadowing, picture, or illustration of another event, person, place, item, etc.
- God’s revelation of His truth is often through His creation. We learn about the unseen by association with the seen. Romans 1:20
- Watch for Key Words and Phrases.