Interpreting the Bible (Kingdom Salvation #1)

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

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

The Bible is the standard God has given us by which we can grow in understanding of Him, His will and His kingdom. There are some basic principles we must follow in order to be able to understand and apply the scriptures accurately. 

Rightfully Dividing the Word

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth

– 2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV

The first basic principle is that we must interpret Scripture in its appropriate context. We must understand that the Bible was written to other people, not us. This does not mean it does not apply to us, it just means we have to understand what God was saying to those who first received it before we know how, or if, it applies to us in our situation. We need to do our best to know who the original human author was (Paul, Moses, etc.), who the recipient(s) was/were (the church in Rome, ancient Israel, etc.), what relationship the author and recipient(s) had with one another and what the occasion for writing was. Most of this can usually be found in the particular book (Romans, Exodus, etc) in which it is written. By understanding what was originally communicated we will be better equipped to see how, or if, the truth of the passage applies to us in our circumstance.

When we come to any passage in scripture and seek to understand what it is teaching, we first look at the immediate context. That is, we look at the verses immediately before and after the verse/verses we are considering. The Bible was not originally divided into chapters and verses. Sometimes the division of verses can give us the impression that a particular verse stands alone, but this is not the case. We must seek to understand the flow of thought of the original author. Reading a few verses before and after a particular verse can go a long way to helping us better understand what the author had in mind.

Continue reading “Interpreting the Bible (Kingdom Salvation #1)”

Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 1

How is it that so many godly men and women can be so convinced that Calvinism is the clear teaching of scripture? Though I believe to fully answer that question it would take an entire book, in this post I will only give the answer that seems the most obvious to me; namely, several passages of the New Testament seem to teach its primary doctrines. Men and women with a sincere desire to submit their hearts and lives to the plain teaching of scripture have read these “Calvinist verses,” sincerely and prayerfully wrestled over them, and ultimately submitted to that interpretation which seemed obvious to them. I am convinced that if there were no such passages in the Bible there would be no Calvinists in the world today. One of the greatest compliments I can give my Calvinist brethren is that their error does not primarily come from a desire to promote a cherished philosophical belief, but from a sincere devotion to the word of God and an equally sincere misunderstanding of it.
Continue reading “Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 1”