The question of how to interpret the Bible is not a minor issue. It is, in a sense, one of the battlegrounds for our souls. If Satan had a list of what he does not want us to do, Bible study would be at the top, along with prayer and worship.

One of the first activities of the Risen Christ was interpreting Scripture.


The Basic Principles of Bible Study:


[1] Because Scripture is a divine Book, and because of our limitation as humans, prayer is an absolute necessity as we study the Bible....Without illumination or insight from God's Spirit, we cannot learn {2 Tim.2:7, NIV}

{2} The Bible is also a human Book and, to a degree, must be interpreted like any other book.

This brings us to the principle of common sense. For example, the grammatical-historical method of studying the Bible instructs us {a} to look at the grammar of a passage carefully to see what it says, and {b} to understand a biblical statement in light of its historical background. We understand a historical statement as a straightforward statement  and do not change its literal, grammatical sense. This is "common sense".

An example of the common sense principle is illustrated when Jesus says Christians can have anything for which they ask {John 15:7}. Common sense tells us that there must be some limitation on this statement because we realize that Christians in fact do not have whatever they would like {first John 5:14 confirms that the limitation is God's will}. 

It is one thing to misinterpret Shakespeare but quite another to misread God. Nevertheless there has been and is much disagreement over what the Bible means at various points. This encourages us to look at the different interpretative approaches--that give rise to a diversity of interpretations, many of which are incompatible with each other. An assumption held in common by both Jesus and the religious leaders of His time was that the Hebrew Scriptures were the word of God. Also held in common was a number of methods of interpreting Scripture: literal, midrash, pesher, and typological. Yet, Jesus and the religious leaders interpreted Scripture very differently.

TYPOLOGY: method of interpreting some parts of Scripture by seeing a pattern which an earlier statement sets up by which a later is explained.

MIDRASH: Jewish interpretations of the OT included a form called midrash. The Hebrew noun midrash is related to the verb derash, which means "to search" and thus refers to an "inquiry" or "examination".


According with the letter of the Scriptures. Adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression; free from exaggeration or embellishment. Characterized by a concern mainly with facts reproduced word for word exact verbatim.Cont