Methods of Interpretation

How to Interpret Bible Passages

Methods of Bible Interpretation

All major differences in doctrine and the different views of prophecy held by many stem from the different methods of interpretation. This creates misleading and false definitions and beliefs about God's coming Kingdom. Before and study in God's Word can be accomplished, it is of the greatest importance to first establish your methods of interpretation.

So what is the most valuable key to this?

    The Golden Rule of Bible Interpretation

    "Interpret Scripture with Scripture"

II Peter 1:20, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation."
A passage of the Bible is to be interpreted by comparing (I Corinthians 2:13) it with other parts of the Bible. The Scriptures cannot be given your own personal interpretation, nor can it be interpreted by those that are not Christians and without the Holy spirit.

There are no isolated texts in the Bible, but there are words that may only appear once. What do we do? Check the immediate context of the verse for the definition. You find this y the surrounding passages taken with the context of the passage and any parallel passage, such as can e found in the Gospels.

Next, there are two important foundational rules to the golden rule.

1) The Bible must be interpreted grammatically.
The Law of "Direct Statement"
"Every passage of Scripture is to be understood literally and taken to mean exactly what it says - unless it is patently obvious from its immediate context or employment of obvious figures of speech that it bears another meaning."
"If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense or it will all be nonsense."
The words mean what they mean, just as you read the words in any book.

The Law of "Context"
"Every passage of Scripture must be studied in the light of its context."
"A text taken from its context becomes a pretext."
Just as any book, what the paragraph, or passage, is talking about is what it's talking about.

The Law of "Languages"
"Words should be understood in a literal sense, unless such an interpretation involves a clear contradiction or absurdity."
"The use of symbolic or figurative language in the Bible does not absolve the interpreter from using the literal approach to interpretation."
This is still you read the Bible like any other book.  God meant His Word to be read and understood.

2) The Bible must be interpreted historically.
The Bible is an historical book with an historical setting; it can only be understood fully and interpreted in the light of history.

Anyone who would seek to understand prophecy in the Bible must have a good knowledge of Bible geography, Bible history, and an understanding of the customs and manners of the Bible lands, people, and times. Quite a tall order for anybody to accomplish! But the historical setting can easily be broken down to five easy questions:
A. Who is speaking or writing?
B. To Whom is it being spoken or written?
C. What is being spoken or written about?
D. When is it being spoken or written?
E. Why is it being spoken or written?

So, after learning the principles of interpretation, what is the first event of prophecy that you need to study? Most people turn to date setting or they try to place prophetic scenes as describing modern scenarios. Jesus said it was not for us to know the day nor the hour but we are supposed to watch. Watch for what? Watch for the fulfilling of the Blessed Hope!! The Resurrection into the Kingdom of God!!

"If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die." (I Cor. 15:32)

In this verse, Paul lays stress on the resurrection as the necessary and appointed means by which the blessings that are covenanted can be obtained. The Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant, promise after promise, involve a resurrection from the dead and the resultant reception of blessings.

There are many reasons why there must be a resurrection, though there are many people who call themselves Christians who do not believe in Christ's resurrection, let alone raising anybody else. Let's look at some of the reasons:

1. The resurrection necessitated by the covenant promises requires the personal resurrection and continued identity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
2. That applied to David's Son demands the same, and the distinctive preservation of His humanity, so as to sustain a continued relationship to David as His Son.
3. The belief in a literal resurrection of the body was a common one among the Jews at the time of Christ (Matt. 22; Luke 29; Acts 23:6-8; John 11:24; etc.), and the language of Christ and the apostles is pre-eminently calculated to confirm them in their belief.
4. That the language of Christ and the apostles taught such a resurrection, is confirmed by the fact that all early Churches distinctly proclaimed it as their faith, and corroborating the views believed by the Jews.
5. Seeing the events around the first advent in relation to a resurrection, if it were a false belief, Christ or His apostles would have emphatically denied it. ("if it were not so, I would have told you." John 14:2)
6. The Scriptures themselves establish the doctrine.

"But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." (Acts 23:6-8)

"Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day."  (John 11:24)

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28,29)

"Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."  (Hebrews 11:19)

These Scriptures can be multiplied to show that, when taken in their literal context plainly state there is a resurrection and that it should be our concern to be a part of it.