Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scripture Interpretation is Key

Anytime that we talk about prophetic events we must realize that Scripture interpretation is key. For example, if I take the Bible as being literal, meaning that I believe what it says word for word, then I will probably arrive at a premillennial position. If, on the other hand, I take Bible prophesy as being mostly allegorical, then I will probably arrive at an amillennial position. Understanding the vast difference between the premillennial position and the amillennial position would cause me to see that an incorrect interpretation method could change the entire meaning of Scripture. Is that something that we want to be careless about?  Do we want to incorrectly interpret Scripture and possible lead a person to a false doctrine? I would have to say that no-one would want to make that mistake. Therefore, we need to make sure that we interpret Scripture as it is to be interpreted.

The main reason that I hold to a literal, grammatical, and historical approach to Scripture is that when the Scripture was given, it meant something to the people who received it. Why would it mean anything different today? Some people would say that times are different or that situations change requiring a different approach to the text. The Bible says otherwise. It says that there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

9 That which has been is what will be,
      That which is done is what will be done,
      And there is nothing new under the sun.
       (Ecclesiastes 1:9, New King James Version)

The Bible also says that God is the same today and forever.

6 “ For I am the LORD, I do not change;
      Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
       (Malachi 3:6, New King James Version)

If things don't change, then why would there need to be a change in what the Scripture says? The answer to that question is that there would not need to be a change. With that in mind, I find it very important to begin our study with what it meant to the people who first heard it or read it.

Something else to think about concerning the allegorical approach to interpretation is that it does not allow for the testing of Scripture against itself. If we interpret Scripture allegorical, then we take the authority out of the Scripture. The allegorical method allows for a "spiritual" and often irreconcilable interpretation. In other words, the interpretation cannot be tested against other Scripture. You may ask, why would anyone interpret Scripture in this method? It could be that they desire a particular interpretation or that they are trying to interpret Scripture by what they see in life today. For example, if a person says that Israel doesn't exist as a nation (like earlier in the 20th century), then a literal approach to Scripture is undesirable because it doesn't match with what we know and Israel has no existence in the future. But now, knowing that Israel is once again a nation then that argument will not hold water. 

I say this in the beginning of the blog to define what approach I take to prophesy. It sets the foundation to the result of the interpretation. If you desire to study God's Word, you MUST nail down your approach to Scripture. A literal, grammatical, and historical approach will provide you with an accurate and complete picture of God Word and plan for mankind. 

I hope that you find this information helpful.

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