Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 2

(This is the second post in a 2 part series,click here to read part 1.)

Scripture Interprets Scripture (in context)

The second principle we want to look at is that “scripture interprets scripture.” This principle is just what it sounds like. When we face a passage or verse that is hard to understand, we can look elsewhere in God’s word to gain clarity. Since the entire Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, its teachings do not contradict one another but complement one another. Something in the Gospels might be clarified by a passage from the letters of Paul, and vice versa. Whenever Calvinism is discussed this principle is often abused. Not just by Calvinists but also by those on the other side of the issue.

That scripture interprets scripture is a very basic rule of how to find out what the Bible is trying to say. Some passages have a clearer context than others. The more complete the context, the more confident we can be that our understanding of a particular verse or passage is correct. But it is often abused by those seeking to defend Calvinism from scripture. We must make it very clear that scripture interprets scripture, but scripture does not overrule scripture. Often the verses that speak of God’s sovereign rights are used to explain away the genuine responsibility (i.e. “ability to respond”) and choices of men.
Continue reading “Ground Rules of Biblical Interpretation – Part 2”

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”