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Basic Bible Doctrine (Part 04) - Bible Interpretation (Part 1)

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I. Bible Interpretation (hermeneutics)
1. The origin of sound Bible interpretation.
A. Man is supposed to live by every word of God (Mat 4:4).
i. It is by God's word that we get understanding (Psa 119:104).
ii. The Bible is a light and a lamp to show us the way (Psa 119:105; Pro 6:23).
B. Therefore it would make sense that the Bible would tell us how to interpret itself, which it does.
2. Some prerequisites for understanding the Bible.
A. The Bible can be understood; it is not some dark book shrouded in mystery.
i. God has not revealed everything thing about Himself to us in the Bible, but He has revealed what He wants us to know about Him in it (Deu 29:29).
a. There are things about God that are unsearchable (Rom 11:33), but not all things.
b. It is God's glory to conceal knowledge about Himself, but it is our honour to search out what God has revealed about Himself (Pro 25:2).
ii. By simply reading scripture we can understand the revelation that God made know to the apostles (Eph 3:3-4).
iii. There is no hidden esoteric message in scripture (2Co 1:13).
iv. Acknowledge - 1. To own the knowledge of; to confess; to recognize or admit as true.
v. The New Testament especially is characterized by great plainness of speech (2Co 3:12).
vi. Plainness - Openness, honesty, or straightforwardness of conduct; frankness or directness of language.
B. God wants us to understand His word.
i. The Lord commands us to get wisdom and understanding (Pro 4:5-7).
ii. Obtaining understanding requires diligent effort, but it is obtainable (Pro 2:1-6).
iii. Ministers are supposed to study the word to be able to correctly understand it (2Ti 2:15).
iv. Christians in general are supposed to study and search the scriptures (Pro 15:28; Joh 5:39; Act 17:11).
a. This enables us to be ready to give an answer when someone asks us about our faith and hope (1Pe 3:15).
b. This is one of the reasons why God gave us His word (Pro 22:20-21).
c. We should pray for God to give us understanding so we can talk to others about Him (Psa 119:27).
C. A man's heart must be right if he is to be able to understand the scriptures.
i. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jam 4:6).
ii. A man's pride will keep him from seeking after God (Psa 10:4).
iii. God hides His word from those who don't humbly seek to know it.
a. God hides his word from the wise men of this world (1Co 1:19-29; Mat 11:25) and reveals it to babes (Mat 11:25; Act 4:13).
b. Jesus is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb 4:12).
c. Jesus will therefore withhold understanding from those who are not honest or have insincere motives (Mat 21:23-27).
iv. A man must first fear God before he will find understanding, knowledge, and wisdom (Pro 1:7; Pro 9:10; Psa 111:10; Job 28:28).
v. We must desire to know the truth about God above all else and be willing to give up whatever is necessary to obtain it (Mat 13:44-46; Pro 23:23).
vi. We must ask God in faith for wisdom without doubting and He will give it (Jam 1:5-7).
a. Those who ask in faith will receive (Mat 7:7; Mat 21:22).
b. Those who seek the Lord get understanding (Pro 28:5).
c. Those who seek shall find (Mat 7:7).
vii. We must DO God's will (His commandments) if we expect to know the doctrine (Joh 7:17).
a. Understanding comes to those who do God's commandments (Psa 111:10; Psa 119:100).
b. If we commit our ways unto the Lord, our thoughts and understanding will be established (Pro 16:3).
c. As we obey God's reproofs, He makes known His words to us (Pro 1:23).
d. When we keep God's commandments, Jesus will love us and manifest Himself to us (Joh 14:21).
e. Manifest v. - 1. trans. To make evident to the eye or to the understanding; to show plainly, disclose, reveal.
f. Those who abound in godly living will be fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Pe 1:8).
g. As we walk in the truth, God gives us more truth (Pro 4:18).
3. The rules of Bible interpretation.
A. There are no contradictions in the Bible.
i. When prophets prophesied, they had to do it according to the proportion of faith (Rom 12:6).
a. According adv. - According to. a. In a manner agreeing with, consistent with, or answering to; agreeably to.
b. Proportion - 1. A portion or part in its relation to the whole; a comparative part, a share; sometimes simply, a portion, division, part.
c. In other words, the prophecy given by a prophet which was a portion or part of the of the scripture (the faith) had to agree and be consistent with the whole of scripture; it could not be in contradiction with what was already given.
ii. Therefore, no portion of scripture should be interpreted to the exclusion of the teaching of the rest of the body of scripture (2Pe 1:20).
a. Prophecy - 1. The action, function, or faculty of a prophet; divinely inspired utterance or discourse; spec. in Christian theology, utterance flowing from the revelation and impulse of the Holy Spirit.
b. Private - 1. Withdrawn or separated from the public body
c. Interpretation - 1. a. The action of interpreting or explaining; explanation, exposition.
iii. Those who are unlearned and unstable wrest some scriptures which are hard to be understood (2Pe 3:16).

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