Interpreting The Word
Interpreting The Word
Psalm 119:11; II Timothy 3:16-17
— The Goal of the Interpreter
Exegesis: “a careful, systematic study of Scripture to
discover the original, intended meaning.”
Not Eisegesis: “the reading of your personal interpretation upon Scripture.”
Is common when someone is embracing a theological system.
o Interpret Using the Golden Rule
If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense. God says what He means and means what He says. ILL: Psalm 1
This is true for preaching and for personal study!
“Hard Sayings of the Bible”; Stefanie Broere
"When the Protestant Reformers spoke about the perspicuity of Scripture, they meant that the Bible was clear when it came to its central message. Contrary to the dominant Roman Catholic idea which said that the Bible was difficult and obscure, Protestants said that anyone who is literate could comprehend the gospel and the Scriptures. The Reformers were not saying that all of Scripture was equally understandable or even that scholarly study wasn't necessary, what they were saying was that the essential clarity of the Word of God was self-evident. Bottom line, they were saying that the Roman idea, that the Magisterium, (or the teaching office) of the church was the only one that could interpret Scripture, was simply in error. Responsible interpretation of the Bible by those in the pews was not only accepted, but also encouraged." - Hank Hanegraaff
Qualifications for Interpreting
o A Regenerate Life -
§ The unregenerate man is spiritually blind - 1Cor 2:14; 2Cor 4:4
§ The unregenerate man is spiritually dead - Eph 2:2
o A Reverence for and Interest in God & His Word
§ The Word is called holy and should be handled in that way - 2Tim 3:15
o A Prayerful Attitude & Spirit of Humility
o A Willingness to Obey the Word - 2Cor 3:18; Jas 1:22-25
o A Dependence on the Holy Spirit
§ This does not mean that one’s interpretations are infallible
§ This does not mean that He gives certain interpreters a “hidden” meaning different from the literal understanding
§ A Believer that is in sin is susceptible to coming to inaccurate interpretations
§ The Holy Spirit guides us to all truth - Jn 16:13
§ The Holy Spirit does not normally give sudden intuitive insights into the meaning of Scripture
§ The Word was given to be understood by all Believers
o A Use of Sound Judgment & Reason
§ Discernment is vital the vibrant spiritual walk and growth of any believer - Prov 2:3-6; Heb 5:14
Difficulties in Interpreting
o The Bible is an ancient book that was written over a 1,500 year span, being completed in A.D. 90. We cannot ask the human authors what they meant or even be present to hear or read it in the same setting, with the understanding that the first hearers and readers possessed.
o Language Difference – the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. There are peculiarities in each of these languages that are unknown in English. The Hebrew and Aramaic of the Old Testament manuscripts only used consonants. Vowels were simply understood and not written. They also read from the right to left and there were no spaces between words. There are idioms and expressions that are obscure. There are also many words only used once in the whole Bible.
o Historic Distance – the Bible finished just about 2000 years ago after having been written for 1,500 years.
o Culture Difference – people groups during the time of the writing of the Bible did things differently than we do today.
NOTE: II Cor. 13:12 – “holy kiss”
o Geographic Distance – we don’t understand the geography of Bible accounts because we don’t live there and also things have changed over the many years.
o Theological Distance – the Bible was written by about 40 men but it has only one author – God! He is infinite (having no limits) and we are finite (limited in our knowledge, strength and ability), therefore we cannot understand all that God communicates to us. The Bible also speaks of many difficult truths such as the Trinity , the two natures of Christ and the eternality of God. These and others add to our difficulty in totally understanding all that the Word teaches. Ephesians 3:8
I close tonight by looking back at what God’s Word is. It is God’s revealed truth to us concerning the unfolding of His redemptive plan through the ages to bring about glory to Himself. And we must interpret that revelation with precision. It is a vital task that we all must give ourselves to. As we look at these truths, the one question that we must keep in front of us is, am I daily and diligently giving myself to the wonderful task of knowing God through the revealed truth of His Word?