SPF 084: How do We Accurately Interpret Scripture? Part 1

What joy must have flooded the hearts of many a person when Martin Luther got German Bibles into his fellow country-man’s hands and people were reading the Word of God in their own language. With that came a responsibility to understand how to interpret what we read in the Bible. Today we are talking about personal interpretation and a quick lesson in how to handle the Scriptures correctly.

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Knowing Scripture

The word Thesaurus comes from a greek word “thesauros”which means treasury or storehouse.

The Bible is our treasury. A storehouse and wealth of truth.

"There is a treasury of significance and application in every single verse. Every verse is pregnant with significance for our lives.” You could not exhaust one verse of Scripture in our lifetime.

The Scripture is a treasury but there are things we must recognize about the Holy Scriptures or we can have this treasury yet come up wanting, or worse yet, on a wrong trajectory.

The Bible is Objective

"It has often been charged that the Bible can’t be trusted because people can make it say anything they want it to say. This charge would be true if the Bible were not the objective Word of God, if it were simply a wax nose, able to be shaped, twisted, and distorted to teach one’s own precepts.” RC Sproul

The Analogy of Faith

To prevent unbridled, speculative, and fanciful interpretations of Scriptures, the Reformers put forth a fundamental truth that should govern all biblical interpretation called the "Analogy of Faith" which means: Scripture interprets Scripture.

Look at the overall meaning of the Bible when we are trying to interpret the meaning of a specific verse.

The “analogy of faith” is a reformed hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the bible teach. In other words, the “faith,” or body of doctrine, which the scriptures as a whole proclaim will not be con tradicted in a ny way by any passage. Therefore, if two or three different interpretations of a verse are equally possible, any interpretation that contradicts the clear teaching of any other scriptures must be ruled out from the beginning. - Monergism.org

If any interpretation contradicts the whole of Scripture, we can know that that interpretation is not correct.

Guiding Principles of Personal Interpretation

There are boundaries set as we personally interpret the Scriptures in our own time in the Word.

Remember! There is one correct meaning, but many applications.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 on episode 85!

Resources

Olive Tree Bible App with the ESV Strong's numbers

Ligonier.org - Knowing Scripture talks: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2018/05/14/private-interpretation/

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Knowing Scripture
By R. C. Sproul