PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETING
Fillmer Hevener, Ed. D
Can the Bible (and its
passages) be interpreted correctly to mean virtually anything
that the reader wants it to mean? Absolutely NOT!
If there is no one
meaning, how will God determine how to use “the law and the
testimony” in judging the individual?
If the Bible can be
interpreted in “any old way,” there is no sin, for there is no
intelligible law to point out sin.
Therefore, in order for
there to be a fair judgment, there must also be a clearly stated
Jehovah knows your level
of understanding and how hard you have worked to understand His
will. If you, in a dedicated way, have seriously studied,
trying to know His will, you will be judged by your
understanding of scripture, His roadmap to heaven.
II. What is the
purpose of writing, especially Biblical
literature? To convey the message of
Is there one
correct interpretation of a Biblical passage? Yes.
If there is
one correct meaning, how do we determine what that meaning is?
Through close reading and through comparing the passage with
other relevant passages. Is. 28: 9,10.
The true meaning of the
passage is what the writer says, not what I want him not to
III. Three areas to
consider when reading a passage:
What the writer says.
Keep passage in context.
Clearly define key words,
keeping them in context.
Identify writer and
If passage logically
cannot be taken literally, clearly define inner meaning and to
whom or what this inner meaning applies. (Note: there may be
more than one level of inner meaning.)
Compare and contrast
various versions of the translated passage, considering the
meaning of the word in the original language.
How he says it. (Style,
literary genre, literary type, form (poetry, history, letters,
wisdom literature, etc.) Is style:
Strong or delicate (in
keeping with purpose of message)?
Metrical, with natural
rhythm and flow of words?
Restrained or exuberant
(in keeping with purpose of message)?
What value does it have
for me? How can this message make my life more productive for
Christ and prepare me for eternal life as well as add truth and
stability life and to my understanding of God’s purpose for me?
What does the Bible say about itself? 2 Tim. 3:16. “ALL
SCRIPTURE GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF GOD….”
Did Jesus trust the scriptures?
Luke 24:27—Jesus uses the
evidence of the Old
Testament to support
His claim as the Messiah.
“Beginning at Moses
all the prophets, He expounded
unto them in all the
scriptures the things concerning
Did Paul trust the
things were written before, were written for our learning.”
Heb. 1:1—“God… spoke in
times past to the fathers by the prophets.
How long will the
“Heaven and earth shall
pass away, but my word
shall not pass
The grass withers and the
flower fades, but the
word of God shall
VALUE OF STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES:
John 5:39: Acts 17:11;
Heb. 5:12-14; 2 Peter 3: 15-16; 2
Cor. 2:11;1 Cor.
2:10; John 14:26; Is. 28:10
(…line upon line….)
THE SCRIPTURES ARE THE SOURCE THROUGH
WHICH WE FIND ETERNAL LIFE.
JOHN 5:39: “SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES, FOR IN
THEM YOU FIND ETERNAL
There is a true meaning to
Finding this meaning may
take much work.
Because the law will be
used in judging us, as a matter of justice, it must have clear
Christ and Paul used the
scriptures in their teaching.
Eternal life with Christ,
may be found within the scriptures. (ETERNAL SALVATION IS THE
GOAL OF EVERY WISE, SERIOUS-MINDED, RIGHT-THINKING HUMAN.)