Site icon Orwell Bible Church

Interpreting Scripture and Biblical Prophecy

It doesn’t matter what part of Scripture you’re studying, you must correctly interpret it.

But often folks interpret prophecy differently from the rest of the Bible. That isn’t right.

You must have a correct method of interpreting the Bible. This is called hermeneutics. The better grasp you have of the following, the better grasp you will have of not only Revelation, but of the whole counsel of God.

1.    The Right Way to Interpret Scripture

The following four points will help you see that the Bible must be interpreted by a consistently literal or normal method of interpretation.

1) Communication Depends on Words Having One Meaning on a Given Context

For example, consider the English word “run.” Webster’s says that this word can be used as a verb, a noun, and an adjective. As a verb it can be used 12 different ways if it doesn’t have an object and 15 different ways if it does have an object. When used as a noun it can have 12 different meanings, and when it’s an adjective it can have 3 different meanings.

So, while “run” can have at least 39 different meanings, when it is used in a sentence it has only one meaning. If it had more than that, how would you know which meaning it carried? You would never know what was meant then!

2) The Author Determines Meaning

3) The Unitary Authorship of Scripture

 What the human author meant is what God meant.

4) The Meaning is Based in the Text

Grammatical: what the words mean and how they function
Historical: the setting of a biblical book (culture, geography, etc)

2.   Some General Rules for Interpreting the Bible

1) Know the Context! (the book itself, the section of the book, the immediate context, and parallel passages)
2) Examine the Meaning of the Words
3) Know the Purpose of the Book
4) Understand the History and Culture of When it was Written (e.g. Esther)
5) Recognize the Type of Literature You’re Studying (called genre, e.g. narrative, poetry, epistle)
6) Compare Scripture with Scripture (coherent, unified, non-contradictory)
7) Be Aware of Figurative Language (trees clapping and Jesus is a door)

3.   Some Specific Rules for Interpreting Prophecy

1) Follow the Normal or Plain Sense Meaning of the Passage
2) Understand the Historical-Cultural Situation (particularly OT prophecy)
3) Recognize Figures of Speech
4) Note the Context
5) Recognize that Prophecy Focuses Primarily on the Messiah and the Establishing of His Kingdom based in Jerusalem
6) Since Every Fulfilled Prophecy was Literally Fulfilled Expect the Same of Unfulfilled Prophecies

Exit mobile version