Interpreting the Bible (Kingdom Salvation #1)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

The Bible is the standard God has given us by which we can grow in understanding of Him, His will and His kingdom. There are some basic principles we must follow in order to be able to understand and apply the scriptures accurately. 

Rightfully Dividing the Word

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth

– 2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV

The first basic principle is that we must interpret Scripture in its appropriate context. We must understand that the Bible was written to other people, not us. This does not mean it does not apply to us, it just means we have to understand what God was saying to those who first received it before we know how, or if, it applies to us in our situation. We need to do our best to know who the original human author was (Paul, Moses, etc.), who the recipient(s) was/were (the church in Rome, ancient Israel, etc.), what relationship the author and recipient(s) had with one another and what the occasion for writing was. Most of this can usually be found in the particular book (Romans, Exodus, etc) in which it is written. By understanding what was originally communicated we will be better equipped to see how, or if, the truth of the passage applies to us in our circumstance.

When we come to any passage in scripture and seek to understand what it is teaching, we first look at the immediate context. That is, we look at the verses immediately before and after the verse/verses we are considering. The Bible was not originally divided into chapters and verses. Sometimes the division of verses can give us the impression that a particular verse stands alone, but this is not the case. We must seek to understand the flow of thought of the original author. Reading a few verses before and after a particular verse can go a long way to helping us better understand what the author had in mind.

Continue reading “Interpreting the Bible (Kingdom Salvation #1)”

Calvinism’s Missing Contexts – Part 2

As we search the scriptures honestly and diligently to find answers to our questions about various issues about living in God’s kingdom we will sometimes find ourselves in deep waters. Sometimes we will stumble upon verses that seem to point us back to the conclusions of our Calvinist brethren. Verses that are clearly about predestination and divine election will seem to jump off the page. The reason for this is that divine election, predestination, the radical corruption of mankind, and other similar topics are taught again and again in God’s word. These doctrines are wonderful and reveal the loving plan of God for the human race in general and his followers in particular. It is not these teachings that are dangerous, but the false understanding of them which is promoted by Calvinism. Understanding them is very important if we are going to come to a well-balanced understanding of our faith.
Continue reading “Calvinism’s Missing Contexts – Part 2”