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Interpret Scripture properly

To interpret Scripture properly we should look at how Jesus did it, and then consolidate everything we learnt so far from Scripture itself

How did Jesus interpret Scripture?

The Bible is written like a group of puzzle pieces mixed to form a different group of pictures. This is why we need to look at the sum of God’s word in order to extract its truth.

Ps 119:160 The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Looking at the sum of God’s word enables us to fit and balance apparently contradictory biblical truths consistently. And the key to understanding how to sum God’s word is given to us by Jesus in the manner that He quoted Scripture. Let me illustrate His method.

Consider Mt 4:5-6 where Satan tempts Jesus.

Mt 4:5-6 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ "

Here, Satan is quoting Ps 91:11-12. If you read the whole of Ps 91 carefully you will find that Jesus could have very well applied that promise to Himself because He perfectly met all the requirements for the promise to hold.

But how did Jesus answer? See Mt 4:7.

Mt 4:7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’ "

Jesus did not claim that promise and jump at that time because He knew that there was another verse (Deut 6:16) that said that one should not put God to the test. And this was a case where one would be putting God to the test if one jumped off.

So how does that apply to any particular subject? You see, there are many verses that describe one side of the coin on any particular subject. And that description is true, just as Ps 91:11-12 was true. But, just as all those verses that talk about one side of the coin are true, there are also verses that describe the other side of the coin, which are also true. So, just as Ps 91:11-12 is true in general, but constrained by Deut 6:16, in the same way all those verses that describe one side of the coin are true, but are constrained by the verses that describe the other side of the coin.

The way God has presented His word is akin to a painting built up in layers. One verse gives the background. Another verse puts in the mountains. A third verse puts the trees, and a fourth puts a home. None of these, taken by themselves, give you the full picture, but when you layer them together (by saying "This is true" AND "That is true" AND "This other verse is true") then you get the real picture. The real picture is the intersection (if you are familiar with set theory in math) of all the verses on the subject.

If you just took the first layer in the painting you would see everything blue. If you just took the second layer you would only see the mountains. But put it all together, overlapping and intersecting, and you get the real picture.

That is how Jesus interpreted and applied Scripture. That is how those who follow Him should also apply and interpret Scripture.

The sad thing in Christian theological circles is that no one has bothered to study and interpret God’s word the way God said it should be interpreted. Seminary professors and other so-called intellectuals have come up with the historical-grammatical method and normative hermeneutics, and so on, for interpreting Scripture that have no basis in Scripture, and have led generations of Christian astray. That is partly why theological truth is often hidden from the intelligent and revealed to the babes.

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