10 Tips for Proper Bible Interpretation

1. The interpreter must possess a genuine Christian faith.

2. The literal, grammatical and historical meaning of Scripture must be held in high regard.

3. A text of Scripture CANNOT mean today what it did not mean when it was written by the author. Bible texts do not contain special, “hidden” or spooky meanings.

4. The task of the expositor is to understand the meaning of the author (exegesis); not to try to bring his own meaning to the text (eisegesis).

5. The interpreter must not be unnecessarily innovative. Christianity is a historical faith.

6. A verse should be studied in context, not in isolation from the verses surrounding it. Always check the antecedent texts (the verses that came before) and the succedent texts (the verses that came after) in order to understand the context of the verse you are examining.

7. If the meaning of a text is unclear, it MUST NOT form part of a major doctrine, not until clarity comes.

8. The “Holy Spirit told me” is not a substitute for the necessary learning, studying and labour to understand Scripture. The interpreter SHOULD know Greek, Hebrew, geography, history and other subjects required to aid proper Bible interpretation.

9. In Bible interpretation, you explain obscure passages with the clear passages and not the other way around. Scripture explains Scripture; if you don’t understand a particular text, check for other texts which explain that particular text. Don’t try to use obscure texts to explain clear ones!

10. Lastly, the Bible expositor must take into consideration that Biblical revelation was received progressively.

For example, Ezekiel corrects Moses’ belief that God punishes children for their parents’ sins (Exodus 20:5) in Ezekiel 18:2-5, 9-11. The idea was false in Exodus 20, hence, it would be wrong to hold on to it and disregard Ezekiel’s further explanation.

Note also that the HIGHEST revelation of God is found in the Epistles (Romans to Jude), see 1 Corinthians 2:6-12, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 & Ephesians 3:1-5. So, the Epistles (which were written by the Apostles of Christ) have the FINAL SAY on orthodox apostolic Christian doctrine.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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