Jun 13

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Helps for Interpreting the BIBLE

Since we are to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) to the extent that we do not teach nor practice error (Rev. 22:18-19), then we must correctly interpret the Bible. While there are many principles involved in proper interpretation, the following will certainly help.
FIRST: Who was the speaker? Was he inspired or not? The statement, “All that a man hath will he give for his life” occurs in the Bible (Job 2:4), but it is an inspired recording of the words of Satan. The statement was a falsehood. So determine who is speaking.
SECOND: Who was addressed? When God gave the Ten Commandments, He was giving them to those whom He brought out of the land of Egypt (Ex. 20:1-2)—not you or me (cf., Rom. 7:1-7). When Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit, He was speaking only to the apostles (Acts 1:1-5). To fail to consider who was addressed can easily lead to a serious misinterpretation.
THIRD: When was it spoken/written? Many people point to the thief on the cross as proof that one was saved without baptism. However, “Today shall thou be with me in paradise” was spoken before the Old Testament was replaced by the New (Heb. 9:16-17). Furthermore, while Jesus was still on earth, He had the power to forgive sins (Mark 2:10). So, consider when it was spoken.
FOURTH: Where was it spoken or written? To realize that the statements “I rejoice” and “I have all things” were written by Paul while he was in a Roman prison will make a deeper impression concerning true joy and true needs. So determine where it was spoken.
These four principles are small but significant considerations which help us to “rightly divide the word of truth.”
Gary Henson

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