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Understanding the Bible

posted Mar 14, 2012, 10:56 AM by Unknown user
For the next several weeks, I’ll be addressing the subject of how to understand & interpret the Bible.

Recently,  I was reminded of  the importance of this  in a couple of ways. First,  I had the opportunity to visit with a young man who leads a small group Bible study. He was interested in some pointers on how to do that effectively. He senses the weight of the responsibility and wants to do it well. I applaud that!

Second, I was  in  a Bible study recently with several couples and it turned out there were a number of different thoughts/ideas/opinions about the meaning of the passage we were studying. At times, it got a bit frustrating insofar as all of the ideas or thoughts seemed reasonable.

Have you had this experience?

Let’s begin with some preliminaries:

Few things are more important in the Christian life than being able to correctly interpret the Scriptures.
  1. It is essential to our growth as Christ’s disciples. (Matt 7:24-27; Col 1:9-12)
  2. God commands us to be responsible interpreters. (II Tim 2:15)
  3. Failing to accurately understand the Bible leads to spiritual disaster. (II Pet 3:16-18)
  4. It enables us to evaluate the teaching, preaching and writing of different “voices” in the church and world. (Acts 17:11)
A fundamental question that needs to be answered is: What is the Bible?
  1. The Bible is a HUMAN word. It is a collection of documents written over a period of at least 1,000 years by humans for humans. It comes to us in the human languages of the cultures in which it was written: Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
  2. The Bible is also a DIVINE word. Through the Holy Spirit, God caused the  human writers of Scripture to write what He wanted written and only what He wanted written.
Thus, the Bible is best understood as a DIVINE word in HUMAN words. Jesus Himself is the best model for our understanding this. Just as Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, fully divine and fully human, so also the Bible is the Word of God written, fully divine and fully human.To rightly understand the Bible, we must maintain this true balance, avoiding both the error of the right (the Bible is not a human word) and the error of the left (the Bible is not a divine word).

If we truly believe the Bible is the Word of God, the only thing we can do is devour it.

This is what makes our general lack of serious Bible study so perplexing: It suggests we don’t truly believe the Bible is the Word of God.

Next week: Translations

Pastor Dan