How to Interpret Gods Word Part 2

Let’s review before we begin. In the last chapter we gave two rules for rightly interpreting the Bible thus far. The first was to understand you have presuppositions. We all have presuppositions, or that which we assume to be true prior to study or investigation. We all come to the Bible with things we think we know about the Bible. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong. Often a previous bias is unmasked when we come to a controversial passage that challenges our presuppositions, and we ask the question, “How do we answer this text?” When we try to answer a text instead of letting the text teach us what the answers are, we are interpreting based upon presuppositions rather than good hermeneutics (rules of interpretation).

The second rule we set forth in the last chapter was to allow the context of a passage to drive interpretation. The context must rule. It is the most important guide to interpretation. For example, what do I mean when I say, “The tongues are not the same”? The truth is you don’t know—it needs a context. You don’t know if I mean the tongues of a pair of shoes are different, or if I am comparing two human tongues, or for that matter, two cow tongues. I could very well be meaning the languages of two or more people, or I could be talking about the harnessing poles attached to the front axle of a horse-drawn vehicle. But if I put a context around my sentence then you might be able to understand my true meaning.

Let’s suppose I had said. “The tongues are not the same. The two girls drank Kool-Aid. One drank grape and the other cherry. One’s tongue was purple and the other was red.”  The context makes the difference between my meaning the tongues of shoes or girls’ tongues stained with Kool-Aid.
Back to Basic Training: Main Page