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How To Interpret Scripture

How do you know when to take a verse of the Bible literally or figuratively? What are the rules of Biblical interpretation?

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Rules of interpreting scripture are simply this:

Does Spirit witness with your spirit truths, regardless of language?...
---kathr4453 on 7/20/09

Can be true in whole. There are other true/tried methods.

Acts 17:11
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
There should be minimum two witnesses in scripture to establish a matter.

Prophets....being the most reliable/proven historically established.
One noticeable thing that is not found often on this site.....prophets for witnesses.
Now when they are not referred too....is witness sound?? Would you bet your soul on it?
---Trav on 7/21/09


Kath4453---

Yes, the Holy Spirit witnesses with your spirit in ways that transcend language.

Your method of interpreting Scripture is good for someone, like yourself, who already has some spiritual maturity and a good knowledge of scripture.

However, some more padantic rules of Biblical interpretation MUST apply as well. Otherwise, people sometimes "hear" the Holy Spirit say any number of ungodly..or at least questionable, things!
---Donna66 on 7/21/09


Being kosher myself, when I read the Bible, The Holy Spirit enlightens the Word of God speaking truth to my New Man In Christ, as that is the only part God speaks with, and interestingly enough is not speaking to me in Hebrew!

The Rules of interpreting scripture are simply this:

Does the Spirit witness with your spirit truths, regardless of language?

I say YES!!! So you see, TRUTH is not a language, The TRUTH is IN JESUS CHRIST. The word became flesh, but the WORD before becoming flesh was not the Hebrew language!

Just another silly attempt to bring Jesus down to our earthly understanding, and strip Him of His Deity!
---kathr4453 on 7/20/09


Concerning God communicating and teaching what love is: God demonstrated His love through Jesus Christ. Some of Jesus' last words on the cross were, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." That is love.
---Rodj on 7/18/09

I love this....and that can be understood in ANY LANGUAGE!!!!!
---kathr4453 on 7/20/09


Leslie,

I realize that the OT is written in Hebrew, but that doesn't make Hebrew God's only language and favored above Greek.

You say: >>>Read your Bibles, and you will see that Hebrew is indeed the language of God, according to the Bible<<<

Again I Ask:

Where does the Bible say this? I can't find any place
---Donna66 on 7/19/09




God is ONLY concerned with what the Bible says (according to Him), and the language it orginated from (according to Him). We are NOT God, but you three must think you are.
---Leslie on 7/17/09
You obviously have been taught nothing about the origin of our present Bible.

I will listen to the founding fathers of the faith before I will listen to you.

You are not sharing truth, and you are the one that is a liar if you say the complete Bible did not come from texts originally written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.

But, I only make myself a fool if I continue to argure with you since you claim to know more than thousands of esteemed experts on this subject.
---obewan on 7/19/09


Leslie, search the scriptures to prove that I'm wrong. God is not bound by the restrictions of man's language. If his thoughts are way higher than man's then His language is also way higher than man's. We could never comprehend His language. Unknown to man, but know to himself and the angels. Like I wrote before, why would he use similes, metaphors, and parables to describe Himself if all he had to use was man's language? Even these similes, metaphors, and parables put a restriction on defining Him.

You are the one that restricts God, placing Him in a small, neatly wrapped box.
---Steveng on 7/19/09


Genesis 13:18 Then Abram removed [his] tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which [is] in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these [were] confederate with Abram.
Abraham became a Hebrew, Lot was not a Hebrew.. but they spoke the same language.
Did Abraham speak Hebrew before he became a Hebrew? Did his family from Chaldea speak Hebrew never being in Hebron?
---MIchael on 7/19/09


I interpret the Bible using the same basic concepts taught in an English Literature class.
One should seek to understand the culture and times in which the Bible was written, realizing it was written over 1,500 hundred years.
One should learn about the author, as much as possible.
One should ask and answer questions that come to mind from reading a passage,remembering what Mark Twain said,"It's not the things that I don't understand that bother me, but the things I do understand."


Concerning God communicating and teaching what love is: God demonstrated His love through Jesus Christ. Some of Jesus' last words on the cross were, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." That is love.
---Rodj on 7/18/09


Hebrew is God's language? It appears to me at the time God scattered man after the tower of Babel, He confounded the language of man, making God is the author of ALL language.

I wonder what language Adam & Eve spoke?



---kathr4453 on 7/17/09




Obewan, Steveng, Donna66 - Aparently all of you want to do things your way, NOT God's way. You are interpreting the Bible based ONLY on what you want it to say, and the language you want it to be in. This is NOT of God, but of a demonic spirit of deception (LIES). Either God is a liar, or people are. Since the Bible is TRUTH, I will go with people are the liars. God does NOT care what you have to say the Bible says, or the language you think it is in. God is ONLY concerned with what the Bible says (according to Him), and the language it orginated from (according to Him). We are NOT God, but you three must think you are.
---Leslie on 7/17/09


Leslie: "Read your Bibles, and you will see that Hebrew is indeed the language of God, according to the Bible, NOT my opinion."

It sure is your opinion because God's language is not of this world. Our thoughts are not His thoughts so how could you create a worldly language that understands God's thoughts. The world "love," for instance. Love is found in every language in the world even Hebrew, but humans could never define love the way God defines it. We humans could never comprehend God's true love. The bible define Love in human terms, but it will never in God's terms. Throughout the bible, God tries to describe himself to humans using similes, metaphors, and parables. Man's language is very restrictive.
---Steveng on 7/16/09


Not that it really means anything but I was at a flea market and heard what I thought was a man speaking in tongues in rythm and dialect. I went up and asked them what language they were speaking as were shouting to each other over boom boxes they were selling. The answer - Hebrew.
---larry on 7/16/09


Leslie--

>>>Read your Bibles, and you will see that Hebrew is indeed the language of God, according to the Bible<<<

Where does the Bible say this? I can't find any place.
---Donna66 on 7/16/09


Leslie:

According to your logic, then only part of the Old Testament original texts are valid, although admittedly the lions share of the text was Hebrew.

If you ignore Aramaic, you will lose at least part of the Bible. I prefer to have a complete Bible. Are you saying that that preference is an "opinion" or that it is wrong for me to perfer English?

Do you actually understand Hebrew? Do you ignore all those verses translated from Greek then?
---obewan on 7/16/09


Steveng:

I must disagree with you.

Everyone needs to use the following resources. These resouces do NOT interpet Scripture, they just help you find things and understand things better.

Naves Topical Bible
Strong Concordance
Thayers Greek/English Lexicon
Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew/English Lexicon
Zodhiates Complete NT Word Study
Zodhiates Complete OT Word Study
Interlinear Hebrew/Greek/English Bible

Or excellent Bible software, I recommend QuickVerse.
---Mark_Eaton on 7/16/09


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How can Hebrew be "God's language"? Surely he's not limited to any one language on earth! If He came to the Welsh, He'd speak Gaelic
If He came to the Zulus, He's speak Swahili
---Donna66 on 7/15/09

Like you I bet we could understand whatever he says....some think the scripture below insinuates Hebrew....I don't know personally. I've also heard...you brought it to mind that the "Gaelic" languages have 400 words that mean and pronounce the same as some ancient Hebrew. Kinda interesting. I believe the Basques as well...but can't remember.

Zephaniah 3:9
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
---Trav on 7/16/09


Donna66, Obewan, & MarkV. - You are all going off of your opinion, NOT what the Bible says. Read your Bibles, and you will see that Hebrew is indeed the language of God, according to the Bible, NOT my opinion. God does NOT care what our opinion of the Bible is, He said it and it is settled - whether we believe it that way or not, is NOT relevant. On the Day of Judgement, we will be judged by what the Bible says on things, NOT what our opinion or interpretation of the Bible is. Going off of our opinions is 1st committing Idolity (making false gods to suit ourselves), and 2nd saying we know more than God (being prideful = acting like the devil).
---Leslie on 7/16/09


Leslie, I will admit sometimes I do show pride. I wish I was over that. Yet in this topic I didn't think I was prideful. First of all, When Jesus spoke, what He spoke was later written by the writer of the book. Whatever language at the time. And when you say God, in the Old Testament, He spoke and someone later wrote what He said but put it in the language they knew. Through time, many scripts were passed and revised. The New Testament was mostly written in Greek, and If you only except one, you are excluding the other two. That was all. Maybe you have a better connection with God reading in Hebrew, that is wonderful.
---MarkV. on 7/15/09


You are WRONG, Jesus did NOT speak Aramaic, He spoke Hebrew. Which makes perfect since considering He was God in the flesh.
---Leslie on 7/15/09
You obviously have something more to learn about scripture translation from the original texts.

And, you are putting words into my mouth. I never said that Hebrew is not God's language. I suggested that God speaks Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic since those were the orignial languages in his original scripture texts.
---obewan on 7/16/09


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How can Hebrew be "God's language"? Surely he's not limited to any one language on earth! I'm sure He didn't "choose" the Jews because He spoke only Hebrew. He knows all laguages perfectly. He uses whatever language people need to understand at any given time

If He came to the Welsh, He'd speak Gaelic
If He came to the Zulus, He's speak Swahili
If He came to Brazil, He's speak Portugese.
(If He came to Texas, I believe He'd say y'all)

If you question scripture written in Greek,
what about the King James Bible in English?
Or do you know Hebrew well enough to read the OT exactly as originally written?
---Donna66 on 7/15/09


MarkV & Obewan - 1st MarkV - you say you disagree with Hebrew being God's language, you are in essance saying you disagree with God and you know better than He does (Pride = acting like Satan). 2nd Obewan - You are WRONG, Jesus did NOT speak Aramaic, He spoke Hebrew. Which makes perfect since considering He was God in the flesh.
---Leslie on 7/15/09


Leslie, I have to disagree with your statement that Hebrew is God's language. ---MarkV. on 7/14/09
If I am not mistaken, Jesus spoke Aramaic. Would she dare suggest that he is not God?
---obewan on 7/15/09


Gods is all languages,but his is spiritual truth,and love.
---tom2 on 7/14/09


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Leslie, you are correct about Hebrew as the bible's original language. You've done your homework....
The oldest written parts of the Bible found were transcribed in three languages. What scholars call the Hebrew Bible (the same books Jews call the Tanakh or Written Torah and Christians call the Old Testament) was first written in Hebrew with a few chapters of the books of Ezra and Daniel recorded in Aramaic. Hebrew had long been the language of the Jewish people, so their scriptures were passed down in Hebrew. Some of the books of the Hebrew Bible may have been written as far back as 1,400 B.C.E., although most of the text was probably written between 900 and 400 B.C.E.
God bless.
---larry on 7/14/09


Forget about concordances.
Forget about other people's opinions (written in books and magazines, websites, blogs, etc.)
Forget about novels (Narnia, Left Behind series)
Forget about all the other christian reference books.

The bible is to be used as its own reference. Somewhere in the bible is the answer you seek for there is nothing new under the sun (yes, even computers). If your relationship with God is strong, he will supply you with all the answers you need.
---Steveng on 7/14/09


Leslie, I have to disagree with your statement that Hebrew is God's language. The New Testament is written in Greek. To say that only the Hebrew counts would put the N.T. at odds with the Old. All Scripture is given by God, and whoever received the given message and wrote it is a gap we all have to face at one time or another. Many times we do have to go back and check the Hebrew writings to make sure our interpretation is correct. I agee with you there but do not agree that God only spoke through the Hebrew. The Bible was originally written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Often times understanding the meaning of a word or phrase in the original language can be the key to correctly interpreting a passage of Scripture.
---MarkV. on 7/14/09


One rule of interpretation that should not be overlooked is to examine how a particular verse of Scripture was interpreted by the church over the centuries.

The closer to the source is often a deciding factor.
---Lee1538 on 7/14/09


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The reason I say that we MUST look at the Hebrew (God's language) and NOT the Greek (man's language) even in the N.T. which was originally written in Greek is this - Hebrew is God's language, so in order to see what God was truly saying, we MUST use His language to interpret it. Greek and other languages are the language of man (people), NOT God, so if you interpret even the N.T. in this language, you only get man's perspective and opinion on things, NOT God's. To me, I want to know what God is truly saying (God's opinion), I could care less what man is saying (man's opinion).
---Leslie on 7/14/09


Leslie -- You are so right about knowing who Scripture was written for. The OT was naturally written for Hebrews.
However, the New testament was not written entirely for Jews.

Matthew, a tax collector, wrote for a Jewish audience, as did the apostle John.
But Luke was not Jewish and wrote for a gentile audience. He also wrote the book of Acts.

The gospel of Mark appears to be written
for a Roman audience by Mark, who once journeyed with Paul and later worked with Peter.

Paul, a very learned Jew, was known as "the apostle to the Gentiles". His letters are addressed to his intended readers, mostly gentiles.
He MAY have written Hebrews which was obviously written with Hebrew believers in mind.
---Donna66 on 7/13/09


To interpret the Bible CORRECTLY, you MUST do the following: 1st - look at it from the Hebrew perspective (God's opinion), NOT the Greek perspective (man's opinion). Even Jesus and the N.T. believers (from Matthew to Revelation) looked at things this way, because there was NO N.T. in their day, ONLY O.T. existed at that point. 2nd - let the Holy Spirit teach, educate, and open the scriptures to you, so you can see what God is saying (NOT man). These two rules are the ONLY measure to use to interpret scripture CORRECTLY.
---Leslie on 7/13/09


2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

But our approach to different Scriptures varies. We don't read poetry (e.g. Psalms) the same way we read narrative (e.g. The book of Acts) The Proverbs are wise sayings but they do not carry the weight of the promises of of Jesus. We read history (e.g. Exodus) differently than we read prophesy (e.g. Ezek, Revelation). There is allegory, similie, even hyperbole (exaggeration for effect). We need to identify these.

The book of Hebrews was written to 1st Cent. Jews and can sometimes be misinterpeted by 21st century evangelicals who do not read it in the original context.
---Donna66 on 7/10/09


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In other words the only way we can know what someone teaches is to hear them or read what they have to say. Without learning we have no right to judge.
I see a lot of people calling certain teachings wrong when they have never studied them to know they are wrong. The only way to learn is to study.
---Mark_V. on 7/4/09

Good point Mark. The insight on the Talmud-d, is the people who wrote it. Since it is important to understand truth about these people....that doctrines worship as the "Chosen" people. We should see first...are they this people? Not all that say they are....are. Revelations. How does this "Chosen" people affect us today? Politics, religion, ACLU etc. What if they are an imposter?
---Trav on 7/10/09


Betty, that was my point. In order to know something is wrong is to study it. It will help you to stay away from it. Many think that it will lead them away from God, but those who are away are away always. If a person is of God, God will make everything possible for us to never leave Him. We might think we have sometimes, but He is always there for us.
There are rules for interpretation. God will make it possible for us to learn what He wants to reveal to us.
I, myself have not read any of it. I am to busy learning about Scripture along. I do read other books when I have the time, books like the history of the Church, and that along takes a long time.
---MarkV. on 7/8/09


markv- I already told you, yes, I've read enough of it to know it is disgusting, and devilish. Have you read any of it? Try typing in
jesus christ blasphemed in talmud & see what you find. In years past, I also read some of the Talmud in a library, the book in my hand.
---Betty on 7/6/09


Betty, my first question to you is, how do you know that what you say about the Talmud is true? There is no way that you could know unless you have read it. If you say someone told you, then you have no right to say it says what you say it says since they could be wrong. To speak against something, is to know what that something is talking about or teaching.
In other words the only way we can know what someone teaches is to hear them or read what they have to say. Without learning we have no right to judge.
I see a lot of people calling certain teachings wrong when they have never studied them to know they are wrong. The only way to learn is to study.
---Mark_V. on 7/4/09


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markv- Let me know what you find in the Talmud to help a Christian grow in their Christian faith. Can the Talmud be spiritually uplifting when it blasphemes Jesus Christ? N-O. It seems to me you pride yourself on being open-minded. You should beware lest Satan find your mind open and move in.
---Betty on 7/3/09


Betty, any information can help us decide what is right and what is wrong when we are open to revelation. If we have a close mind, and have made our minds up, if we are wrong, we will always be wrong.
If you are serious with God, God will help you through the Spirit to discern what is right and what is wrong.
I can walk into a bible book store and by opening a few pages, can tell that book is full of nonesense and useless to edify me. Most of the books there are nonesense. I would say maybe 5% are of value to the Christain. Most are written to make money. There is nothing wrong by learning what others teach, we can make our assurance sure, we are following the right gospel.
---MarkV. on 7/3/09


... how can you know whether it blasphemes Jesus? How could it blaspheme Jesus anyway, since it was written several hundred years before he was born?
---StrongAxe on 7/1/09

There are two Talmud-ds. Palestinian and Babylonian. The latter is used mostly by the orthodox.
The work is a continuing series of wisdom by the pharasitic Rabbi's. This is how Jesus was incorporated. Even you...should realize that these people do not accept "the anointed messiah" that we do. There are appx 63 books of the Talmud...possibly more now. If you are not Jewish according to the Talmud...you are "goyim" an animal....just for starters. An most wonder why they have been run out of every country settled in multiple times.
---Trav on 7/2/09


markiv- So what are you saying? That the Talmud is good Christian study material? If you think that, you should find out what it really is. The thing Christians notice about the Talmud is that it is a book that blasphemes Jesus Christ and promotes witchcraft. Most Jews hate Jesus Christ and cling to the Talmud as their most holy book-more important to them than the Bible.
---Betty on 7/2/09


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strongaxe- Why don't you trouble yourself to find out? Look it over for yourself. Yes, I've read enough of it to see they wrote blasphemies about Jesus Christ. For one thing they call Jesus an illegitimate b------. Also, they accused Him of witchcraft, when they were the ones using it. You should already know that most Jews reject Jesus Christ and look for another Messiah, even if you haven't read the Talmud. Tell you what else...they even permit themselves to molest children. Read it if you don't believe it.
---Betty on 7/2/09


Betty, there are many Christians that work hard studying and looking up words in passages because it is very important to get the original words and what they mean. So any source that can help a person is available for us to the point that we are without excuse. I believe the Spirit leads us and influences us, and gives us the hunger to look and search for the Truth, not only in our Bibles but by many resources we have.
Some don't care to look up anything, but in the process they miss something so important and are led astray by someone who doesn't search the Scriptures good. And let me say there are many pastors who don't know the very meat of the Word who teach a different gospel.
---MarkV. on 7/2/09


kenny, the"rules" of Biblical interpretation is this: "Ye shall receive Power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." "HE will guide you into ALL TRUTH."

Truth is revealed, not taught. When you read the bible, ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth of the scriptures. Of course if you don't have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, then you need Him living inside of you.

You can buy The Bible Knowledge Commentaries - 2 Volumes for like $39.99 or maybe $49..99 at Christian Book Distributors. Those are pretty good commentaries.
---anon on 7/2/09


From a historical standpoint, the Talmud is worth considering (though perhaps not by the average Christian). It's no way near being scripture, but anything that sheds light on the prevailing beliefs of Jews in Jesus day, can add to our understanding of how His teachings impacted them.

Betty, witches use all sorts of things, even the Bible. The fact that they use it doesn't make it evil.
---Donna66 on 7/1/09


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Betty:

Have you ever actually read any of the Talmud? And if not, how can you know whether it blasphemes Jesus? How could it blaspheme Jesus anyway, since it was written several hundred years before he was born?
---StrongAxe on 7/1/09


philtheelder- Why would any Christian want to study the Talmud in order to learn more about the Bible? The Talmud blasphemes Jesus Christ, and is used as a handbook for witchcraft.
---Betty on 7/1/09

Glad you mentioned it Betty. Your knowledge above is exactly the reason. To understand that there are a people who 2009 years later still actively are Anti-Christ. The weak kneed preachers run on this subject or are totally unaware. I watched and lost all respect for J. fall-well on the News one night. He ran trembled and sweated out some politically correct garbage when confronted face to face.
May our Lord always give us the words in our mouth.
---Trav on 7/1/09


philtheelder- Why would any Christian want to study the Talmud in order to learn more about the Bible? The Talmud blasphemes Jesus Christ, and is used as a handbook for witchcraft.
---Betty on 7/1/09


A concordance will help you to some extent but original language dictionaries will help you more. Use the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament & Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/1/09

I read and appreciate extended study when it can be shown to explain or clarify. Give us/me some of your deepest revelations you've discovered using the above. The Hebrew word erets would be a good place or perhaps the latin word Gentiles. Get them off to a proper start with the prophets and who scripture deals with contextually.
---Trav on 7/1/09


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2 of 2 The Talmud is by no means evil, it contains the Rabbinic commentary of the Old Testament from scholars who were closer in time of writing then we are. We sometimes need to use the Greek Text of the OT to understand what Hebrew word that is only used once in the OT between the Talmud and the Greek Text we can figure out what the term means.

You will need to use a lot of extra-biblical sources if you wish to effectively study scripture.

The Talmud will also inform you about Hebrew Eschatology and the requirements for being a Messiah. if the Messiah is to be the "Second Adam" he has to be born on a specific Jewish Holiday.

Do you understand now?
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/1/09


We are to take the Bible literally were ever we clearly understand the meaning of the words used.

When we cannot understand the words used we need to consider symbolism, figuratively meanings.

The Bible is like an onion being peeled, there are many many layers of understand.
---mima on 7/1/09


Everybody here has been making some very good points. The comments on Exegies and Hermantics were excellent.

There are two main interpretations of the bible. Dispensational starte by Darby and set up Biblical history as dispensations with walls between. Dispensationalism vaies. From those who say the moral laws of all the bible apply and lessons are important. To those who say only the letters of Paul apply to the church.

Then there is Covenant Theology which follows the rule that GOD has been guiding and expanding each new covenant built on the previous adding more detail and giving greater understanding. So that all the bible is for the church as long as it rightly understood.

I believe that Covenant is correct.
---Samuel on 7/1/09


1 of 2 Trav, your comments on my post of June 30, 2009

God did not write any of the Bible humans wrote it about their experiences with God each hada specific purpose in each subject area addressed.

Some has general applicability and some is specifically addressed to individuals or specific groups in a defined location and time period.

A concordance will help you to some extent but original language dictionaries will help you more. Use the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament & Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
---Phil_the_Elder on 7/1/09


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Jesus and then Paul used quite a bit of Scriptures and taught men of all walks of life. Would you state where did they teach all those requirements you prescribe, Phil_the_Elder?
---Nana on 7/1/09


Kenny, the rules for Biblical interpretation are found in books or lessions that deal with Hermeneutics, which is a science and art of biblical interpretation. General Hermeneutics is the study of those rules that govern interpretation of the entire biblical text. Special Hermeneutics is the study of those rules which govern the interpretation of specific literary forms, such as parables, types and prophecy.
Exegesis is an application of the principles of hermeneutics to understand the Author's intended meaning. I hope that you get a book that deals with this issues that can help you get to the next level on how to interpret Scripture. Blessings and peace.
---MarkV. on 7/1/09


confusion exists within the minds and hearts of people.Our spits are hamoered by our flesh when we attempt to relate with God.
---tom2 on 6/30/09


also kenny, you will never be confused witht his again if you remember the Bible is one book, with 66 chapters. no one stands alone nor seperate but make a complete picture. I like to teach it to my class as thinking of a puzzle: if you lose a piece it doesn't change the original design but outcome, original picture but the look,nor meaning but understanding.
During translation from original Hebrew, the Word was divided into chapters and verses. The Hebrew divided writings into areas like poetry, history,law, etc.
---Linda on 6/30/09


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One way is if the same subject was discussed in other parts of the Bible. Assimulate the facts and see the logical conclusion. The scriptures should agree with each other. If Jesus said something, believe it. If Jesus told a parable (something figurative), He said it was a parable, and He would interpret it. Otherwise, He meant what He said literally. Also, in O.T. or N.T. if God said it, believe it. Thus saith the Lord, especially.
---Betty on 6/30/09


Always interpret the verse literally unless doing so does not make sense.

For example, Jesus says in John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father".

Jesus did not really mean that these people were born sons and daughters of Satan. It makes no sense to interpret this passage literally.

The right way to interpret this passage is to use the context of the verse. What was Jesus talking about? In verse 42 Jesus said "If God were your Father, you would love Me". Therefore, Jesus was saying that their lack of love for Him proves that they are not sons of the Heavenly Father, but rather sons of the devil.
---Mark_Eaton on 6/30/09


Kenny, I believe what has been said is very good advice. What I recommand is to first know who God is. Every passage that speaks about who God is, His nature, His attributes will help you understand the Bible when you begin to study. Many don't know God first and interpret a passage completely demeaning the deity of God and His Attributes and Nature. It is because they never studied who God was. So they form their own god in their minds depending on what they think is correct.
When discipling I find that teaching the attributes of God and His nature with new converts gets them ready to read Scripture. Then many things apply, like context, who was speaking, where, in what time, what the culture was, New Testament or Old Covenant, etc.
---MarkV. on 6/30/09


You need to understand who was the author of the text you are reading. GOD

To whom was the text addressed? Abraham, Issac, Jacob/Israel.

Why was the text written? Amos 3:1-3

What were the culture of the various groups/tribes/peoples in the local when the book was written? Beware of them today.

You will need to have a reasonable working knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek. Use a Concordance

You need to have a working knowledge of the Talmud.....
Yes you need to find how evil Talmud-d is.
---Phil_the_Elder on 6/30/09

Phil, made some good points. I added mine after each of his.
---Trav on 6/30/09


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\\the only part of the bible that is,or can be a mystery are the parables taught by jesus,everything else is literal,except for revelation.
---tom2 on 6/29/09\\

Does this include where Leviticus says bats are birds, or where St. Paul said that he wished those making an issue about circumcision would emasculate themselves?
---Cluny on 6/30/09


The first and best rule I can tell you Kenny is keep it in context. A great example of this is in Romans 7 when Paul uses marriage as an example. The clue that it's an example comes in verse 4 when he says "therefore." (in light of all that was said) Yet many love to quote this scripture as a stand alone doctrinal statement giving no consideration to the rest of what the Bible says elsewhere concerning divorce and adultery.
Context is the key to understanding what you read, and application has to keep harmony with what the rest of scripture teaches concerning a given subject with respect to the differences in the covenants old and new.
---Pharisee on 6/30/09


You need to understand who was the author of the text you are reading.

To whom was the text addressed?

Why was the text written?

What was going on in local and world history at the time the text was written?

What were the culture of the various groups/tribes/peoples in the local when the book was written?

You will need to have a reasonable working knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek.

You need to have a working knowledge of the Talmud, Hebrew Eschatology and how to identify pseudepigraphic texts

You will need to have a working knowledge of Textual and Higher Criticism.
---Phil_the_Elder on 6/30/09


the only part of the bible that is,or can be a mystery are the parables taught by jesus,everything else is literal,except for revelation.
---tom2 on 6/29/09


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Two principles:

1. Remember that the entire Bible points to the figure of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ and should so be seen in that light.

2. Use the unclear passages to interpret the clear ones.

3. Remember there are different kinds of writing in the Bible--historical, didactic, poetic--and read them accordingly. For example, we don't understand a poem the same way we do the newspaper.
---Cluny on 6/29/09


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