Biblical Interpretation


Growing up, whenever I heard pastors preach from God’s Word they always (as I recall) approached the Bible asking what the particular passage meant to them, or the sermon had more of their opinion of what the passage was saying. As I have grown in understanding of proper interpretation of Scripture, I have discovered that this is actually an unbiblical method of interpretation. When we come to the Scriptures asking what it means to us, the only outcome is to miss what the author was trying to say as they penned the text. This past semester (Spring 2011), I took a class titled Inductive Bible Study. The objective of this class was to teach students proper interpretive methods, so that the student can rediscover what the original author was saying to his original audience. Rather than approaching the Scripture asking what the text means to us, we should be asking what it meant to the original audience. What I am going to do is share with you the questions that make up the Interpretive Journey for each section of Scripture in hopes that whoever reads this will take it to heart and make it practice so they don’t accidently misrepresent author’s intended meaning.

Question 1: What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
Question 2: What the differences between the biblical audience and us?
Question 3: What is the theological principle in this text?
Question 4: How should individual Christians today apply the theological principle in their lives?

When interpreting Scripture from the Old Testament use these questions as a guideline.
Question 1: What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
Question 2: What the differences between the biblical audience and us?
Question 3: What is the theological principle in this text?
Question 4: Does the New Testament teaching modify or qualify this principle, and if so, how?
Question 5: How should individual Christians today apply this modified theological principle in their lives?
There is much more to interpreting Scripture than simply asking these questions. I would encourage you to buy Grasping God’s Word and read through it. It will help you to better understand God’s Word. It is the text book that was used in the Inductive Bible Study class that I took, and it was very helpful to me.
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