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					                      Principles of Biblical Interpretation
Determine the teaching intention of the author
John 10:28 – no one can snatch them out of my hand.
   Some say – we can jump out (lose our salvation)
   BUT – clearly, in the context, John did not intend that at all
This point really is the starting place for all the other points


Remember the Basic Unit of Scripture              Whenever the main passage of Scripture is read
Book                                              that will be taught or preached, you should
When you study, study in books                    quickly study it and figure out what the basic
Note the structure of the book (outline)          points should be (thought outline).
Understand the (thought) Outline
   Many outlines are poor.
   Outlines should not just tell you what is in that section, but should relate to the sections around

Occasion of the Book
Argument of the Book
Purpose of the Book


Use Many Translations
NIV & NAS are most common and best overall
KJV – hmmm
Modern Translations
Paraphrase vs. Translation


Assume the Clarity of Scripture
Always go with the simple, straight-forward, ordinary, obvious, plain, direct, normal, natural
meaning unless there is a very good reason not to do so.
“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, use no other sense or you will have
nonsense.” – Dr. Dave Reid


9 Questions for Application
Be very careful here. First, find out what the author’s intent is. Let that drive your application. But,
as you are waiting on God to speak to you, think about the following.

Is there a __________________________ to _____________________________
           Example    Follow
           Sin        Avoid
           Promise    Claim
           Prayer     Repeat (learn from)
           Command Obey
           Condition  Meet
           Verse      Memorize
           Error      Mark
           Challenge Face
Meditate, Statio, Pray, Obey, Be Open
Meditate
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God
Ps119:99
Joshua 1:8 – notice the relationship between meditation and action
Psalm 1:1-2 – One of the fastest ways to transforming your life is through meditation
Psalm 119:97

Use “wasted time”
   When driving
   When standing in line
   Snatch up 5 minutes of time
   Buy the Bible on Tape or CD (cheap on Ebay or something)

Memory provides the mind with the fuel to meditate – Memory is Key!!!

Maybe use TMS (Topical Memory System - from Navigators)

Statio
(see article in handout)
Monastics have a practice they call statio that means, simply, stopping one thing before beginning another. Rather
than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times. Before dialing
the phone, pause and think about the conversation and the person on the other end. After reading from a book,
pause and think back through what you learned and how you were moved. After watching a television show, pause
and ask what it contributed to your life. Before reading the Bible, pause and ask for a spirit of attention. Do this often
enough and even mechanical acts become conscious, mindful. I find that if I take time to pray for the recipient before
beginning to compose a letter or before making a phone call, it makes the task less of a chore and more of an
opportunity in which to receive or express God’s grace…


Pray – John 1:15

Obey – Jn 17:17
Chesterton – the reason we open our mind is the same as we open our mouth – to close it on
  something solid.

Be Open – Acts 17:11


Stress the Priority of the original languages
Reason – the Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic
Examples:
Matthew 10:28 – “destroy” – signifies loss, not annihilation
Romans 1:16 – “power” – from Greek – dunamos – which is NOT where we get the word
   “dynamite” - don’t read words back into the Bible


Look at the Literary Context
Genesis 31:39 – not a benediction; context tells us it is two brothers up against each other – it’s to
keep them from ripping each other off
Isaiah 14:12-15 – not about the devil; context tells us clearly – about the Kind of Babylon
    History of why some say it’s the devil – Latin – morning star - luciferas
Let Scripture Interpret Scripture
Luke 4:9 – Satan takes Scripture out of context
   Jesus responds with Scripture

Principles
The Obscure is subject to the clear (1 Cor 15:29 – Baptizing the dead is not clear)
The narrative is subject to the didactic (stories must be interpreted in light of teaching)
Partial is subject to the complete
   Romans – focus on salvation (so issues of faith and works are subject to salvation)


Never Determine the doctrine from the illustration
Example: Building a building – used two different ways (1 Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20)
Is the beast in Daniel the same as the beast in Revelation (I say NO)


Check out the historical and cultural background
Mark 2:5 – Jews at the time had detachable roofs – doesn’t mean we should destroy property to
get friends saved
Matt 5:13 – Salt used to preserve food (no fridges) – so in that context, Christians are to prevent
the spread of moral decay


Aim for one interpretation with many applications
One interpretation may be multi-faceted, but has one interpretation
Romans 1:16
   Should not be ashamed of the Gospel
   Are you willing to share your world view in the secular school world
   Praying in a restaurant
   BEST INTERPRETATION - #2 – purpose of Romans is the gospel being taught in universal
      Scope


Always proceed from then to now
Don’t read now back into the text
Numbers 1:20-46 – A census is being taken for war
   Don’t go looking for hidden meaning to apply to us right now
   God is a God of Details (no hidden meaning here)


Be careful about spiritualization
David & Goliath (5 Rocks = 5 key things to hold onto to slay the giants in your life)


Allow for the fuller meaning of Scripture
Typology
Type – an example of further revelation to be shown as a picture today (it must clearly be stated as
such in the New Testament, not assumed)
In allowing for the fuller meaning, do not do away with what the original audience understood.
Message And Fullfillment

                 MESSAGE                                          FULLFILLMENT
          Authoritative Word From God                             Unfolding of God’s Plan
       Understood by prophet, relevant to                    May be vague or obscure or take
             contemporary audience                                 unanticipated direction
 Identified with the author’s intention as guiding   Identified often only with the aid of interpreter’s
                      criteria                               hindsight (or we are still waiting)
             Uses objective evidence                               Subjective perspective
                   One Message                                   Possibly many fulfillments
                 Does not change                                    May shift directions
        Aim of Old Testament Interpreters                Elaborated by New Testament Authors


Avoid confusion between authoritative truth and inspired record
The Bible never lies, but it records lies; Just because it did happen, doesn’t mean it should happen
1 Samuel 31:4


Distinguish between the cultural and the transcutltural
Lord’s supper vs. foot washing (Jn 13 – did Jesus intend to make an ordinance out of foot
washing?)
When the appeal is made to creation (rather than culture) – 1 Timothy 2:11-14


Discern what is more critical and what is less critical
Doctrine of Christ is more important than eschatology
In Revelation, we often focus on signs and times when the focus should be on who Christ is.


Recognize the fact of progressive revelation
Abraham knew less about life after death, end times, and the Holy Spirit than we do – so we can’t
read back into it our understanding.
2 Samuel 12:23 - But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go
to him, but he will not return to me." – not a statement about babies going to heaven


Comprehend the Biblical Covenants
How they fit together; How they are different; Everything hangs on them
What is their purpose?
Are they everlasting?
Are they conditional or unconditional?
Biggest Question – Are the Church and Israel the same or different
The Biblical Basis for Capital Punishment is the Noahic Covenant – and it was never withdrawn


Submit to the hierarchy of scripture???? (NO)
We must interpret the Gospels in light of the Epistles – yes but that is simply understanding
progressive revelation and letting scripture interpret scripture.
Know the different types of literature
Historical Narrative –
Apocalyptic Literature – Vision of the future – highly symbolic
Prophecy – message from God (not necessarily about the future)
Poetry – Different kinds of parallelism are important to understand
Letters –
Wisdom Literature –
Parables -


Understand the use of language
Literal vs. Figurative (simile, metaphor, personification, euphemism, idiom)


Appreciate that all truth has not been revealed
God conceals certain things (Deut 29:29; Prov 25:2)


Acknowledge that the finite cannot completely fathom the infinite
Like trying to totally grasp the Trinity;
Be in Awe!


Beware of pride and prejudice
Watch out that you don’t believe what is more pleasant and throw out less pleasant stuff
Be careful about believing what your favorite author or speaker (pastor) says
Don’t conform because of pressure
Don’t Prejudge


Watch out for hobby horses and pet peeves
Importance of teaching expositionally, rather than topically


Consider the historical interpretations of the text.
How has the Church interpreted this through the years?
If you disagree with the classic positions, be very, very careful. You are probably wrong.

				
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