If you were anticipating brain surgery, I suspect you would want to be sure the surgeon got an “A” in “Brain Operations 101“! There are some things in life where inaccuracy is not an option! Interpreting the sacred Word of God is one of them:
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved… a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth… Ignorant (literally: untaught) and unstable people distort [the]… Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Timothy 2:15 – Amplified; 2 Peter 3:16)
As lay-people, we have a responsibility to correctly examine the Scripture, since bad doctrine usually leads to bad living. Following are 10 basic principles of Biblical interpretation :
1. Work from the assumption that the Bible is authoritative.
2. The Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains Scripture.
3. Interpret personal experience in the light of Scripture and not Scripture in light of personal experience.
4. Biblical examples are authoritative only when supported by a command.
5. Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally.
6. Interpret words in harmony with their meaning in times of the author.
7. Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context; a passage in harmony with its context.
8. Since Scripture originated in a historical context, it can be understood only in the light of biblical history.
9. Historical facts or events become symbols of spiritual truths only if the Scriptures so designate them.
10 When two doctrines taught in the Bible appear to be contradictory, accept both as scriptural in the confident belief that they resolve themselves into a higher unity.