“It shall greatly helpe ye to understande Scripture, If thou mark Not only what is spoken or wrytten, But of whom, And to whom, With what words, At what time, Where, To what intent, With what circumstances, Considering what goeth before And what followeth.” John Wycliffe (1324-1384)
THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT
Let all passages in the Bible speak for themselves within the context of the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter, the book. Our major problem in properly interpreting a passage may be our bias or our subjectivity. If we approach a passage thinking we already know what it teaches we may read our own meaning into the passage. This is called eisegesis (eis is a Greek word meaning “into” or “unto”; Cf. Acts 2:38). To correctly interpret the Bible one must practice exegesis (ex is a Greek preposition meaning “out of”). The “rules” of Hermeneutics are established to assist one in the fine art of exegesis. We will consider the rules for Bible Study by Dr. Carroll Kendrick from his book Rules of Bible Study, The Old Paths Book Club, 1946 – WHAT IS NEEDED IS AN “OBJECTIVE METHODOLOGY”
Rule One: Cherish the love of Truth. 2 Thess. 2:10; John 4:23; 2 Tim. 2:5; John 8:31,32
2 Thess. 2:10
10* and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
23* “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24* “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
2 Tim. 2:5
5* Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.
31* So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
Rule Two: We must act from proper motives when we search for truth. John 6:26; 5:42; Luke 8:15; Matt. 13:23; Mk. 4:20
26* Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
15* “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
23* “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”
20* “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Rule Three: “Rightly divide the word of Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) Discriminate between the Old and New Testaments Gal. 3:24,25; Eph. 2:15-18; 2 Cor. 3:3-15;
**CAUTION – DO NOT go to the extreme here.
2 Tim. 2:15
15* Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
24* Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25* But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26* For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27* For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28* There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29* And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
15* by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16* and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17* AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18* for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
2 Cor. 3:2-15
2* You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3* being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4* Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5* Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6* ¶ who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7* But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8* how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9* For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10* For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11* For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. 12* Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13* and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14* But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;