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BIBLE INTERPRETATION

 

A. THE BASIC PRINCIPLES

 

Our approach to the matter of Bible interpretation should be based on the premise that we are committed to the Bible as “The Word of God” and that we sincerely want to know what God has said.  If God has really spoken through this Book, then it must convey a harmonious, intelligible system of truth.  Our study of its pages is designed to increase our understanding of its Author and bring us into conformity with his ideas and purposes.  Thus, Bible Study holds great promise of reward to the earnest seeker after the knowledge of God.

 

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION

 

1)  Interpret Literally

2)  Interpret in Light of the Context

3)  Examine Word Meanings

4)  Look to the Original Language as the Final Authority

5)  Compare Scripture with other Scripture

6)  Observe the Facts Surrounding the Scripture Portion you are Studying

 

The rules of Bible interpretation are as fundamental to the understanding of God’s Word as the rules of grammar are to the understanding of English.

 

Nothing but first-hand knowledge of God’s Word will suffice to fulfill God’s purpose for us and give us the rewarding sense of “discovery” that stimulates and satisfies.  The application of the rules of interpretation is necessary to help us acquire this first-hand knowledge and the attendant benefits.

 

God’s Word on this matter is: “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15).  Explanation of each of the above principles is made in the following pages.

 

1.  INTERPRET LITERALLY

 

Not figuratively or allegorically, unless the language is clearly figurative or allegorical.  Deal with it as you would other writings.  God’s Word is meant to be understood.  Most of the Bible makes the best sense interpreted literally.  This means we take the simplest, basic meaning of the words.  “If the plain sense makes sense, then seek no other sense.”

 

This does not mean that there are not symbolic portions of the Scripture, however.  For example, the book of Revelation is full of symbolism.  Allegories are used, such as Hagar and

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