2 Bible Interpretation Study Part I Lesson One: Taking the Bible Literally Lesson Two: Interpreting Figurative Language Lesson Three: Prescriptive versus Descriptive Passages Lesson Four: Positional versus Experiential Passages Lesson Five: Interpreting in the light of Context
3 Bible Interpretation What does the Bible Mean Why Study the Bible? Because All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. II Timothy 3:16
4 A Must Acceptance To be guided correctly by the word of God, we must assume the Bible contains its own laws of interpretation, which, when properly understood and applied, will yield the correct meaning to a given passage. [Layman s Guide to Interpreting the Bible, by Walter A. Henrichsen]
5 Warning If an individual can make the Bible say what he wants it to say, then the Bible cannot guide him. It is merely a weapon in his hands to support his own ideas. [Layman s Guide to Interpreting the Bible, by Walter A. Henrichsen]
6 Interpret a Passage in Harmony with its Context You must find the overall purpose of the book in order to determine the meaning of particular words or passages in the book. ayman s Guide to Interpreting the Bible, by Walter A. Henrichsen]
7 Wrong Interpretation: Not in harmony with its context A Tiger in Africa Zoom IN The Particular Zoom IN The Particular Zoom OUT The Overall Zoom OUT The Overall
8 Four Questions to find Context Particular to the Overall 1. How does the passage relate to the material surrounding it? 2. How does it relate to the rest of the book? 3. How does it relate to the Bible as a whole? 4. How does it relate to the culture & background in which it was written? [Layman s Guide to Interpreting the Bible, by Walter A. Henrichsen]
9 Look at the Book of James
10 James 2:14 The Particular 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? Have faith Not works Can faith save him? Is this salvation doctrine? For by grace are ye saved through faith Ephesians 2:8a Context will show, this is NOT about how to be saved; it s about our conduct and how it relates to our faith.
11 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it 1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
12 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it Favor the rich Discount the poor Showing partiality
13 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
14 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it Despise the poor Respect of persons Fulfill the royal law Call to love thy neighbor as thyself
15 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
16 Before James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it Adultery Murder Shows no mercy Our transgressions
17 AFTER James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
18 AFTER James 2:14 The scripture surrounding it Not meeang need of a desatute brother or sister Ø Example of dead faith Quality of our faith Ø No works - Superficial faith (dead) Ø Works Faith that is alive true salvation
19 1 st Chapter of James [1:2-4] The Rest of the Book 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
20 1 st Chapter of James [1:2-4] The Rest of the Book Benefit of temptaaons (trials) Ø Works paaence (hopeful endurance) Call to maturity
21 1 st Chapter of James [12-16] The Rest of the Book 12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
22 1 st Chapter of James [12-16] The Rest of the Book Evil EnAcements Ø Drawn away of own lusts Ø Produces sin Ø Brings death Ø Don t err (go astray) Our temptations
23 3 rd Chapter of James [8-10] The Rest of the Book 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
24 3 rd Chapter of James [8-10] The Rest of the Book The tongue Ø No man came tame Ø Unruly evil Ø Bless and Curse Ø These things ought not to be Call to godly speech
25 4 th Chapter of James [7-10] The Rest of the Book 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
26 4 th Chapter of James [7-10] The Rest of the Book Submit to God Draw near to God Resist the devil Cleanse your hands Mourn and weep Humble yourselves Call to repentance
27 Purpose of James Looking at the Whole To warn superficial faith doesn t save To show works validate true salvation faith To rebuke believers for sinful conduct To call believers to repentance Bottom Line: James is about how the saved should live, NOT how we are saved. The focus is on instruction versus doctrine.
28 James 2:14 The Particular 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? The context is about our conduct, not salvation. Faith that doesn t produce works (fruit) doesn t save Parable of the Sower
29 Look at the Book of Ephesians
30 Ephesians 2:8-9 The Particular 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Saved by grace through faith GiQ of God Not of works No boasang This is about salvation.
31 Before Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
32 Before Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
33 Us Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø God Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Before Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it Dead in trespasses Walked according to this world Lusts of the flesh Children of wrath Dead in sins Rich in mercy He loved us Quickened us together with Christ By grace are ye saved Raised us up together This is about salvation.
34 After Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
35 After Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
36 After Ephesians 2:8-9 The scripture surrounding it Us Ø GenAles in the past in the flesh (the uncircumcision) Ø Without Christ, strangers and aliens from the promise Ø No hope, without God Ø Far off This is about salvation. God Ø Created us in Christ Jesus unto good works Ø Made us near by the blood of Christ [saved by His blood]
37 1 st Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:3-5
38 1 st Chapter of Ephesians [3-5] The Rest of the Book Blessed us with spiritual blessings Chosen us before the foundaaon of the world holy, blameless PredesAned us to be adopted children This is about salvation predestined
39 1 st Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7 ========================================= 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
40 1 st Chapter of Ephesians [7,13-14] The Rest of the Book RedempAon and Forgiveness of sins Sealed with the Holy Spirit Purchased possession of God to be redeemed (glorified) This is about salvation redeemed
41 3 rd Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
42 1 st Chapter of Ephesians [3-6] The Rest of the Book Mystery of Christ hidden in Ames past The mystery is GenAles fellow heirs partakers of God s promise Part of the same body (Jew and GenAle body of Christ) This is about salvation fellow heirs
43 3 rd Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
44 3 rd Chapter of Ephesians [16-20] The Rest of the Book Paul s Prayer Ø Strengthened by God s Spirit Ø Rooted and grounded in Love Ø Know the love of Christ Growing in Christ There is a shift to our behavior
45 4 th Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
46 4 th Chapter of Ephesians [1-3] The Rest of the Book Walk worthy of your vocaaon (calling) Forbearing one another in love Keeping the unity Growing in Christ brotherly issues
47 4 th Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
48 4 th Chapter of Ephesians [29-32] The Rest of the Book No corrupt communicaaon Grieve not the Holy Spirit Put away bi]erness and anger Be kind and forgive Growing in Christ anger issues
49 5 th Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
50 5 th Chapter of Ephesians [22-25] The Rest of the Book Wife submit to husband Husband love your wife Growing in Christ marriage issues
51 6 th Chapter of Ephesians The Rest of the Book 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
52 6 th Chapter of Ephesians [1-5] The Rest of the Book Children obey parents Fathers don t provoke your children Servants obey your masters Growing in Christ authority issues
53 Purpose of Ephesians Looking at the Whole Chapters 1-3a The blessings of our salvation who we are in Christ Chapters 3b-6 The outworking of our salvation how we should behave in our Salvation Bottom Line: Ephesians provides both doctrine and instruction in righteousness
54 Interpret a Passage in Harmony with its Context You must find the overall purpose of the book in order to determine the meaning of particular words or passages in the book. ayman s Guide to Interpreting the Bible, by Walter A. Henrichsen]
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