2000-04-18 - Interpreting Scripture

1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

According to the Knight-Ridder News Service, the inscription on the metal bands used by the U.S. Department of the Interior to tag migratory birds has been changed. The bands used to bear the address of the Washington Biological Survey, abbreviated: "Wash. Biol. Surv." until the agency received the following letter from an Arkansas camper:

"Dear Sirs: While camping last week I shot one of your birds. I think it was a crow. I followed the cooking instructions on the leg tag and I want to tell you it was horrible." The bands are now marked "Fish and Wildlife Service."

I think that sometimes we study Scripture this way. We see in God’s Holy Word exactly what we want it to say. And the illustration even works further, because in studying God’s Word we show our hunger for it. But we can’t make it fit into our mindset. We must make our mindset conform to God’s mindset found in the Words of Scripture.

One of the principles of Scripture study is the concept of context. The Words of Scripture are written in the context of the other Words of Scripture. The phrase goes like this: Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture, or as some have said it: Scripture is its own interpreter.

The principle known as the Analogy of Faith tells us that in order to understand the meaning of a passage of Scripture we ought to try to gain insight into what the Holy Spirit says in the Scriptures on the passage more than what men or women before us may have said about the passage.

In addition, the harder places to understand in Scripture can be explained by those passages that are easier to understand. For example, we might gain an understanding of a truth in Scripture which will give further light, in some way, to another portion of Scripture we are struggling with.

There is a perfection and completeness in the Scriptures. It falls upon us to try to understand what God is communicating to us in His Word. It is a great blessing to us that God has given us His Word. Let us be students of it. Let us be those who are growing in understanding of it. And let us be sure that in our study of God’s Word we undertake to study the whole of it, the places difficult to understand, and even those places that we struggle to believe as true.

“God’s truth always agrees with itself.” Richard Sibbs

“The Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of His holy Word.” John Robinson

Soli Deo Gloria,