Rules for interpreting the Bible
What we must acknowledge:
- The Bible in its original autographs has no errors. Bible is both inerrant and infallible. Bible verses cannot say one thing at one place and another thing exactly opposite in another place. All verses are in harmony with each other.
- The Bible is complete and does not require any additional revelation beyond itself. There is nothing to add / edit / delete from the Bible and there can be nothing to add / edit / delete from the Bible.
- God inspired the whole Bible. God inspired all portions of the Bible equally. The word usage (vocabulary) and grammatical structure in the original authored language is directly from God and has a significant role in interpreting the verses.
- God wants us know and understand His word and God has always used plain and clear language available at the time of authoring the scriptures. The vocabulary and grammatical structures used in the Bible do not contradict the general principles and structures of language itself.
- The original authors intended just one interpretation of the scriptures. When it comes to studying the Bible, interpreting the passage correctly is more important than application of the passage.
Method to interpret:
- What did the original author say? (Literary context)
- Why did the original author say so? (Historical setting)
- How did the original author say? (Genre)
- What did the original author mean? (Grammatical structures and word morphology)
- What did the original author say elsewhere on the same subject in the same book? And what did the original author say elsewhere on the same subject in other books written by him? (Contemporary passages)
- What did the other biblical authors say on the same subject? (Parallel passages)
- How did the original hearers understand the message and respond to it? (Original application)
- How does the original message apply to my day? How does the original message apply to my life? (Personal application)
Bible verses should be interpreted with in the context. A single verse should never be read but each verse should be read with in the context of its surrounding verses, chapter and book. The best way to interpret the Bible is by comparing scripture with scripture. God has revealed His word progressively in time, so the interpretation should confirm with the whole Bible. Bible verses should be read plainly and interpreted literally unless the passage is obviously symbolic. Even if the passage is symbolic, symbols cannot mean what ever we wish, but must be interpreted with in the boundaries of the other principle of interpreting the Bible.
Golden Rule: A single passage has one interpretation but may have many applications.Bible interpretation, Bible study | Resources | By: Stevens Dumpala