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Interpreting the Word of God
“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
It is not necessary to know the ancient languages to accurately interpret the Bible. God has given us his Word in our own language. Personally, I do not place much value upon any of the modern translations of the Holy Scriptures. None of them is more accurate or more readable than the King James version. Only two things are necessary for an accurate interpretation of Holy Scripture: faith and honesty. We must believe what God says, subjecting our reason, opinions, and emotions to the revelation of God in the Scriptures. And we must interpret the Word of God with honesty. An honest interpretation of God’s Word is a contextual interpretation. Three things are involved in an honest, contextual interpretation of the scriptures.
Everything revealed in the Scriptures must be interpreted by the context in which it is given. It is dishonest to take a man’s words out of context, much more so to take God’s words out of context. Every word, phrase, verse, and chapter of the Bible must be interpreted in the light of its context. I mean it must be interpreted in the light of its immediate context and in the light of the whole Book of Divine Revelation, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20).
We must build our doctrine upon the plain statements of Holy Scripture and upon the whole Volume of Inspiration. We must not form our doctrine by logic or tradition and then seek to find “proof texts’ for the doctrine we have built. And we must not build our doctrine upon isolated portions of scripture. We build our doctrine upon the whole testimony of God.
If we would know the truth of God concerning any subject, we must go to that place in the Scriptures where that specific subject is explained by an inspired writer. If you want to know what the Bible says about baptism, you must not go to Acts 2:38, but to Romans 6. If you want to know what the Bible teaches about marriage and divorce, you must not go to Romans 7:1-4, but to 1 Corinthians 7. If you want to know what God has to say about his purpose of grace, you do not go to John 3:16, but to Ephesians 1, Romans 8, 9, and 10. Honesty compels a man who seeks to know the truth of God to find that place in the Bible where a subject is taught and explained and build his doctrine upon God’s revelation. Honesty and faith will keep us from error.