How to read the bible for yourself
Series: The Book of Ephesians
January 13, 2019
Is there actually a way to interpret the bible correctly ? Yes, there is. There is a basic method that works for understanding any book. We then add to that approach the unique revelation of Jesus Christ, because Jesus is the key that unlocks the meaning of the scriptures. Come join us as we cover five basic principals that will allow you to study the bible for yourself and discover not what you want it to mean, not what someone else told you it meant, but what God intended for it to mean!
How to study the Bible for yourself
What is it?
The Bible is grounded in and colored by Human History, but it is more than religious literature. God speaks to us through it in the present tense. He changes us through it. It is a trustworthy witness – our final authority in beliefs and practices, it is a light for our path. See 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Psalm 119:105
- The Bible is not exhaustive, or the only knowledge we need, but it tells us what we need to know about God so that we can experience Him and actually live according to his ways. It reveals things to us that we could not know any other way (besides direct divine revelation.) See Deuteronomy 29:29
- The Bible is not a book but a LIBRARY of 66 books, with many different genres including laws, histories, letters, hymn books, timeless wisdom/philosophy, morality tales, gospels and prophecies. Each should be interpreted according to the rules of that type of literature.
How do I Interpret it correctly?
- The first steps in interpretation (after prayer for illumination), are to try to understand what the original AUTHOR intended, and then how the people of that original CULTURE would have understood what he/she said. The text may mean more, but it does not mean less than the original author intended.
- People who take a verse out of CONTEXT are likely to make it mean what they want, not what God intended. The smaller the section you are reading, the HARDER it is to interpret it correctly.
- Interpret vague or confusing scriptures in light of clear verses and repetitive themes found in the Bible. Seek to be taught the plain truth, not to find secret meanings.
- An English word can have several meanings. Compare several scholarly translations ( NIV, NRSV, NAS, etc. ) to get a clear understanding of a verse
- Bounce your interpretations off other Christians. The Holy Spirit uses others to help us.
- Jesus is the center of the scripture – it all leads up to, or leads out from the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God. The Word Incarnate is the ultimate revelation of God. Interpret the Word Written (Bible) through the teachings and person of Jesus. Start with the gospels and move out from there. Start with John 3:16-17, Matthew 11:28-30, John 8:31-32, Matthew 38-34, Ephesians 2:8-10
Content Copyright Belongs to Langdon Palmer