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 14 PRINCIPLES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION
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kevtherev
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Posted - 22 Jan 2006 :  21:48:00  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
14 PRINCIPLES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION

PRINCIPLES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION

Bible Reading: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman, that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". II Timothy 2:15

Aim: To identify the different principles of Bible Study which must be followed if one is to be a student of the Word of God. To know the Bible and know how to handle it correctly. What rules must be applied to a passage to discover it's correct meaning? Inspiration means: a) More than human genius, eg. Shakespeare b) More than illumination by the Holy Spirit c) More than revelation d) Not partial inspiration, but FULL inspiration e) It is "God breathed" which means: the breath of God expressing itself through a human personality. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." II Peter 1:21.

Proofs of Inspiration: a) Scripture itself - its pre-eminence in literature - its preservation - its transforming power - its unity - its scientific accuracy b) Proof of archaeology: over 5,000 places spoken of in Scripture have been found by archaeologists. c) Proof of fulfilled prophecy. Psalm 22

What is gained by study of the Bible: a) Profound knowledge. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning." Romans 15:4 b) Personal faith. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17 c) Purification of Life. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." John 15:3 d) Preparation for service. "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." II Timothy 3:17 e) Power in ministry.

What shall be done: a) Practise its truth. b) Proclaim its truth.

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I DISPENSATION PRINCIPLE (or Administration) A Dispensation is a period of time in which God deals with man in a certain way in respect to sin and man's responsibility. The word "dispensation" is first found in Ephesians 1:10: "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ." The 8 dispensations are: 1. Innocence (Genesis 1:26-2:23) Period from creation of man to the fall of man. 2. Conscience (Genesis 3-7) meaning "with knowledge". Period from the fall of man to the flood: 1,656 years 3. Human Government (Genesis 8:1-11:9) Period from the flood to the confusion of languages: 427 years. 4. Promise (Genesis 11:10-15:21) Period from the Call of Abraham to the Exodus: 430 years 5. Law (Exodus 19:1-8) Period from the Exodus to the Cross: 1,491 years. 6. Church Period from Pentecost to the Rapture. 7. Tribulation (Revelation 6-19) Period from the Rapture to the Millennium: 7 years. 8. Kingdom Period from the Return of Christ to the Great White Throne Judgment: 1,000 years Rules

Truth must be divided in the same dispensation only.
Don't take the truth of a past dispensation and bring it to the
present, e.g. - Romanism mixes paganism, Christianity and Judaism. - Seventh Day Adventists bring Jewish law to this Church dispensation. 3. Don't take truth from a future dispensation and apply it to the present, e.g. - Jehovahs Witnesses take the 144,000 in Revelation 7 from the Tribulation Dispensation and bring it into the Church Dispensation. - Church belongs to this dispensation, and Abel, Noah and Abraham do not belong to the Church. 4. Don't put this present dispensation into the future, e.g. The Church is not going into the Tribulation Dispensation. Each dispensation shows: a) Man's responsibility. b) Man's failure. c) Judgment because of failure. d) Low moral condition at the end. e) Divine mercy shown at the end.

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II COVENANT PRINCIPLE Definition: An agreement or contract between two parties, eg. man and God. Two types: a) Conditional: depends on man. "If ye will obey." Exodus 19:5 b) Unconditional: depends on God. "I will." Genesis 9:11 Only four Covenants have signs: - Noahic: Rainbow Genesis 9:11-17 - Mosaic: Sabbath Exodus 31:13.16,17 - Abrahamic: Circumcision (unconditional) - Davidic: Son Luke 2:11,12 The Covenants are:

EDENIC: Genesis 1:28-30; 2:15-17. How life was governed in Eden.
ADAMIC: Genesis 3:14-19. This covenant was made after the fall
and before the expulsion from Eden. It orders man's life outside Eden and up to the end of the Millennium. It consists of curses (3:14-18) and a promise (3:15). 3. NOAHIC: Genesis 8:20-9:17. It is unconditional, and the rainbow is its sign. The contents of this covenant are: - God will not curse the ground again. - God will not destroy all life by a flood again. - Four seasons shall prevail each year. - Man is commanded to be fruitful and to replenish the earth. - Man has dominion over animals. - Man's diet is changed to include bloodless meat. - Law of capital punishment is established and has never be revoked. 4. ABRAHAMIC: Genesis 12:1-3. It was made with Abraham, the father of the Israelite nation. Its sign is male circumcision on the eighth day. The covenant is made in Genesis 15:8-15. Five beasts and birds were laid on an altar: - Each party was to walk between pieces of the animals. Abraham slept and only God walked through. - Slain beasts typify the death of Christ. Birds of prey typify evil powers trying to take away the efficacy of Christ's death. The contents of this covenant are: - I will make of thee a great nation. - I will bless thee. - I will make thy name great. - Thou shalt be a blessing. - I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee. 5. MOSAIC: Deuteronomy 28:1-68; Leviticus 26:3-39. Conditions (IF): Promise of blessing if Israel obeyed the law. Promise of punishment if Israel disobeyed the law. The contents of the covenant are: - Ten Commandments. - Civil law, governing social life and camp life. - Ceremonial law, priests made sacrifices for sins of people. - Spiritual law, based on love to God and man. Sign of the Mosaic Covenant is the Sabbath. It is only made between God and the Jews. 6. DAVIDIC: II Samuel 7:8-19; Psalms 89. Made with David, through Nathan. The contents of this covenant are: - A Davidic political house of an earthly kingdom through His Son. - The sign of the Davidic Covenant was Jesus Christ, the Son of David Luke 2:11,12 7. PALESTINIAN: Deuteronomy 30:1-10. This covenant was established because of the disobedience of the Jews and their dispersion. The contents of this covenant are that it: - Promises: Return of Lord Regathering of Jews Conversion of Jews Judgment on the nation of Israel Great blessing and prosperity for Israel - Ends with the new heaven and the new earth. 8. NEW COVENANT: Jeremiah 31:31-34. The blood of Christ is the blood of the New Covenant. Hebrews 7:27 It promises sanctification and heart knowledge of God.

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III ETHNIC DIVISION PRINCIPLE The Word of God is related to three classes of people: Jew, Gentile, Church. "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God." I Corinthians 10:32 Questions to ask: a) Who said this? (e.g. Job's friends) b) To whom was it said? c) Under what circumstances was it said?

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IV DISCRIMINATION PRINCIPLE We must make a distinction or difference where God makes a difference. For example, consider the: a) Difference between creatures (men) and children of God. b) " " being accepted and being acceptable. c) " " faith and works. d) " " salvation and rewards. e) " " believer's position and walk. f) " " possession and mere profession. g) " " law and grace. h) " " Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God. I) " " political and spiritual. j) " " Jews and all the saved. k) " " national and universal. l) " " limited to earth and unlimited. m) " " limited to time and eternal.

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V APPLICATION PRINCIPLE An application of a truth may only be made after the correct interpretation has been discovered.

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VI TYPICAL PRINCIPLE A type is a divinely appointed illustration of some Scriptural truth: - A person: Adam, Jonah - An event: deliverance from bondage - A thing: brass serpent, veil of the tabernacle - Ritual types: tabernacle, priesthood, Passover. A type must typify something future.

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VII HUMAN WILLINGNESS A knowledge of God's truth is guaranteed to people willing to know the truth. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." John 7:17. He must: a) Be guided by the Holy Spirit. b) Have intellectual honesty. c) See the supreme authority of the Bible rather than some human organisation (e.g. the Watchtower). d) Be willing to obey the Bible.

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VIII FIRST MENTION PRINCIPLE God indicates His mind on a subject where it is first mentioned. For example: - Subtlety of Satan: Genesis 3:1 - Faith: Genesis 15:6 - Holiness: Genesis 2:3 - Spirit of God: Genesis 1:2 - Son of Man: Psalm 8:4 - Babylon: Genesis 11, Rebellion of man - War: Genesis 14

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IX PROGRESSIVE MENTION God makes the revelation of any given truth increasingly clear as the Bible proceeds to the end.

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X FULL MENTION PRINCIPLE In a certain part of the Bible, God declares His full mind on any subject vital to our spiritual life. For example: - Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15 - The tongue: James 3 - Restoration of Israel: Romans 11 - Church: Ephesians 1-3 - Law: Exodus 20 - Spiritual Armour: Ephesians 6 - Last things: Matthew 24 - Spiritual gifts: 1 Corinthians 12-14

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XI CONTEXT PRINCIPLE God gives light on a subject through near or remote passages bearing on the same theme. Every verse must be studied in the light of its context. For example: in Ezekiel 37, the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy of Israel. The Mormons think that the 2 sticks are the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The context tells us that it is Judah and Israel becoming one nation in the land (v.15,16). Matthew 24:13 does not teach possible loss of salvation because the context is the Tribulation period where believers are called upon to endure the troubles for 7 years, where they will be rescued by Christ returning. It does not teach loss of salvation.

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XII AGREEMENT PRINCIPLE God will not set forth any passage in the Bible which contradicts any other passage. Take the clear passage rather than the unclear passage. Study the unclear passage more thoroughly to determine its correct meaning.

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XIII DIRECT STATEMENT PRINCIPLE God says what He means, and God means what He says. Therefore, do not spiritualize the Bible away. Take it literally as the context states. This will make you premillenial in your understanding of prophecy, not amillenial.

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XIV GAP PRINCIPLE God may leap over centuries without comment. For example, God leaps over 2,000 years in Hosea 5:11-6:2. CONCLUSION Let us not jump to a conclusion about what a difficult verse might mean, but let us study it carefully so that we know precisely what it means and that it does not contradict other clear verses

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