Sunday, August 21, 2016

How Should We Interpret the Bible?

For all Bible interpretation, the real question should not be, "could this mean something else if I look hard enough?".  The question should be: "What is the most likely meaning of this verse as it would have been understood by the common man of that time period?"

Why is this the correct question? Because God has inspired the Bible for us to read, understand, and to apply.  If it can only be understood by experts, then God probably should have worded it better, which would imply God is not perfect.  See my point?

"Sola Scriptura" means scripture alone.

A short quote from wikipedia: "Sola scriptura (Latin: by Scripture alone) is a Christian theological doctrine which holds that the Christian Scriptures are the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice."

 Here are my general principles for Bible Interpretation:

1) Scripture should be used to interpret scripture.

2) Unclear or ambiguous versed should always be interpreting in the light of more clear verses.

3) The bible should be interpreted literally, meaning that ways the authors intended. If he wrote a poem, then read it as poetry, if history, then history, if symbolic vision, then symbolic, if a parable, then read it as a parable (a story with a moral), if song, then read it as a song; you get the idea.

4) Greater cultural understanding of the people and time period of a verse should deepen and expand the meaning of a verse. It should never reveal a new meaning that contradicts the previous straightforward reading. Why you ask? This technique could create a slippery slope that can be used to reject any passage to suit the desires of the reader.

5) We must be consistent to interpret all passages with the above mentioned principles. If we accept some verses as straightforward, but bend over backwards to get the meaning we want in another area, then we lessen the value and weight of all passages and give others the free pass they are looking for to bend over backward when they interpret areas that you consider straight forward.  A dangerous precedent is created.

Other good articles that talk about the proper interpretation of scripture:

Is there a Reformed approach to science and Scripture review -

Is there a universal way Christians should interpret the Bible? -

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