Acts 17:10,11 – “Then the brethren innediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These [the people of Berea] were more fairminded [noble] than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily [diligently] to find out whether these things were so” (NKJV).
I quoted these scriptures in a recent blog about seeking the whole truth and nothing but the truth of God’s Word. I am repeating some thoughts again because understanding this truth is essential in order to interpret the Bible correctly and to know what God is communicating to humankind and particularly to each one of us in His holy and divinely inspired Word.
These scriptures reveal to us that the sincere Bible-believer and student of the Bible must not just blindly accept everything he/she hears a message brought forth by a teacher or preacher of the Word. We tend to accept without question anything we hear from our favorite preacher or teacher or what our denomination tells us to believe without diligently checking out what the scriptures teach in order to be sure that the message we heard is true and consistent with the whole teaching of the Bible.
In the verses mentioned above, we see that the Holy Spirit called the believers in Berea “noble.” Please keep in mind that 2Peter 1:20,21 tells us that the men who wrote the scriptures were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit as they wrote the scriptures. So, we want to ask ourselves, What was it that caused the Holy Spirit to call the people of Berea “noble?” The Holy Spirit called them noble because after they heard Paul and Silas preach, they searched out the scriptures diligently to confirm that what they heard was true and consistent with the Word of God.
In our diligent searching of the scriptures, it is of utmost importance that we interpret the Bible correctly in order to fully understand what it is that God is speaking to us. That is why I am writing this blog. There are certain principles, truths and concepts that are essential to the proper interpretation of the Bible.
First of all, we must understand that the Bible is the only authoritative voice of God to mankind. The Bible must be held up as the foundation and basis about all that a Christian believes and practices concerning his/her daily life.
Some religious groups teach that the Bible is one of several authorities in the life of their followers. They hold up other books or writitngs, the teachings of their denomination or some of the popular leaders as having equal or greater authority than the Bible. If one accepts any authority to be equal or greater than the Bible, he/she will never fully understand what God has spoken in his holy divinely-inspiried word.
I will repeat what I said earlier, The Bible is the only authoritative voice of God to mankind. We must also understand, that when properly interpreted the Bible is inerrant and infallible, which means there is no mistake or contradiction in the Bible when it is interpreted correctly. When you uncerstand that, you will understand that you can trust every aspect of your life, including your eternal life in the Almighty, All-powerful God and in what God has spoken in his Word, the Bible.
Why is understanding and interpreting the Bible correctly so important? Because it is necessary to be certain of what God has said in His Holy Scriptures in order to determine the meaning of God’s Word. There is no benefit to us if God has spoken and we do not know what He has said. Therefore it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to study diligently and determine the meaning of what God as spoken to us in Sacred Scripture.
“To determine what God has said is a high and holy task. With fear and trembling each should be ever so careful of that which he has adopted as his method of Biblical interpretation. Upon the correct interpretation of the Bible rests our doctrine of salvation, of sactification, of eschatology, and of Christian living. It is our solumn responsibility to know what God has said with reference to each of these. This can be done only if we have carefully, thougoughly, and systematically formulated that system of Biblical interpretation which will yield most readily the native meaning of the Bible. Further, we need to know the correct method of Biblical interpretation so that we do not confuse the voice of God with the voice of man. In every one of those places where our interpretation is at fault, we have made substitution of the voice of man for the voice of God. We need to know proper methods of Biblical interpretation thoroughly if for no other reason than to preserve us from the folly and errors of faulty principles of understanding God’s Word.” ***The 2 previous paragraphs were taken from the book “Proper Biblical Interpretation” by Bernard Ramm, published by Baker Book House, Copyright 1970, page 2.
In part II I will talk about some important principle in order to properly interpret the Bible.. Be looking for it in the near future.