"Rightly Dividing The Word"      

2 Timothy 2:15


     Those who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction and pervert the doctrines of the gospel to deceive the souls of men do so by quoting isolated verses, sentences, and phrases as proof texts. Ignoring the context in which the quotation is found, they align it with other similar quotations to prove their preconceived doctrines or to disprove that which is clearly taught in the Word of God which they do not like. This method of interpreting the Scriptures is both dishonest and irreverent, revealing a total disregard for the authority of God's Word. Interpreting Scripture this way, anyone can make the Bible say whatever they want it to say. We must never be guilty of thus "handling the Word of God deceitfully" (II Cor. 4:2).

     Here is a rule of biblical interpretation that must never be ignored: If you want to know what the Word of God teaches about a subject, always go to that place where that subject is taught and explained in the Scriptures, and build your doctrine upon the plain statements of Holy Scripture. For example: If we want to know what the Bible teaches about divorce and remarriage, we must build our doctrine concerning it form I Corinthians 7, and interpret all other passages in the light of Paul's clear words of instruction in that chapter. The same is true with regard to all other points of doctrine. Without question, all true doctrine is taught throughout the Word and is illustrated in many ways. But every true doctrine is definitely stated and explained in specific passages: The Trinity (I John 5:7), Election and Predestination (Rom. 8-11; Eph. 1:3-14), Redemption (Isa. 53; II Cor. 5), Justification (Rom. 3-5; Gal. 1-5), Regeneration (John 3), Baptism (Rom. 6), The Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11), and the Resurrection (I Cor. 15; I Thess. 4).

     This is not an over simplification of hermeneutics, but an absolute necessity for honest biblical interpretation. If we would know the will of God, understand the Word of God, and in all things glorify God, we must always interpret Scripture by Scripture in its contextual setting.


Don Fortner