- THE HOLY SPIRIT (by the instrumentation of the spirit of Wisdom and Revelation) the ONLY SUREST AND SAFEST way to understand the Scriptures is to allow the Holy Spirit to help, teach and minister to us when we study the Scriptures. John 6:63; John 16:12-14; Ephesians 1:17-18; 1John 2:20;27. (This verse does not mean we would no longer need teachers to teach us certain truths because we have the Holy Spirit: Read Acts 8:30-33; Ephesians 4:11-13). The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, is the one that will do it for us. Luke 22:45; Ephesians 1:17-18a.
- READING, STUDYING AND MEDITATION:
The deep things of God are squeezed out into our beings (spirit and soul) by reading, studying and meditative pondering.
Meditative pondering is the route into the pathways of God for our beings. See Genesis 24:63; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2; 39:3; 63:5-6; 119:148.
As a strategy, a believer can adopt the studying and understanding of the Scriptures, in the following manner:
- The teachings of Christ, His life and Ministry
- The doctrines and life application principles that are contained in the Epistles, in the episodes of God’s revelation in the lives of the patriarchs, contests and conquests of kings and kingdoms, the metamorphosis of Israel as a nation, etc.
- Prophecy: We can study the books of the prophets, plus prophecy about things to come, as revealed in the New Testament. Prophecy gives us hindsight, foresight and strategies. It is the policy document for the future and shows how to deploy our lives. However, the greatest burden of prophecy is an accurate interpretation.
- We can also adopt studying the scriptures chronologically. This helps to ‘arrange’ the general thoughts of God in the scriptures in our minds.
- There is the Logos of God’s words and the Rhema. The Logos is the total scope of the Divine Mind on a matter, the general concepts of the Lord on an issue, while the Rhema is understanding by revelation into Divine Mind on that same matter. Hence, we cannot have Rhema without the Logos.
As a follow-up to the basic thoughts above, the following practices will further help us to develop a better approach to understanding the scriptures.
- In establishing truths/doctrine from Scriptures, we must ALWAYS allow scriptures to interpret scriptures. 2Peter 1:20.
- We must allow the witness of other scriptures to interpret or provide further interpretation of any verses of Scriptures. Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16
- In understanding the Scriptures, we can employ the principle of first mention. That is, mostly in scriptures, the first time a principle/word/instruction appears may be used to interpret (or gain entrance into) other places in scriptures where it may be found.
- Scriptures is Prophecy. That is, it reveals Divine intent/mind. As a result, it must be treated as such, with no mental or academic interpretation. 2Peter 1:20-21
- The intent of prophecy in scriptures is that it ultimately points to Christ. Every Scriptural verse, whether openly or not, points to Christ. This happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us. Revelation 19:10b.
- There is the contextual understanding of the Scriptures, deductive and inductive reasoning (meditating) IN Scriptures. When this happens, the integrity of God’s word and the witness of other scriptures must hold SUPREME. No scripture is capable of private interpretation. 2Peter 1:20-21
- A basic rule of interpretation of Scriptures is to establish doctrine only from instructive passages of scripture. This is because the Bible does not prescribe everything it describes.
- When passages of Scriptures are intended to teach, then they are prescriptive – giving us doctrine, instructions, learning, commandments, etc. These are common in the letters of Paul, for example. When they are narrative, historic and giving facts as they were/are, then they are descriptive. This is common in the books of Judges, Ruth, Chronicles, Kings, etc
- Descriptive passages must always be read through the lenses of prescriptive passages. In other words, what principles in God (found in the Scriptures) do they strengthen, invigorate, affirm or establish? For example, the stories in the book of Ruth.
- There is what we call prophetic interpretation of the Scriptures. This is when the Holy Spirit takes truth and turns it into a ‘Pointed Truth’. The intention is always to establish doctrine/understanding/insight/revelation for the NOW (present Truth) individually or corporately. The rule of thumb is that PROPHETIC INTERPRETATIONS MUST WITNESS TO THE LORD. (Revelations 19:10b). In addition, when this takes place, the contextual truth being originally expressed / indicated is not to be destroyed or discarded. Rather, it is to be enhanced and invigorated.
*Revealed truths from God’s words that are APPROPRIATED ACCURATELY lead to accelerated growth in a believer.
Ilorin House Fellowship, Ilorin, NIGERIA