How We Interpret the Bible: Principles for Understanding (2023)

God is capable of accurately relaying His Word to us in a way that we can understand. It is crucial that we interpret properly to determine the intended meaning rather than forcing ideas into the text.


A popular seminary professor recently wrote the following about the creation of Adam and Eve:

Any evils humans experience outside the Garden before God breathes into them the breath of life would be experienced as natural evils in the same way that other animals experience them. The pain would be real, but it would not be experienced as divine justice in response to willful rebellion. Moreover, once God breathes the breath of life into them, we may assume that the first humans experienced an amnesia of their former animal life: Operating on a higher plane of consciousness once infused with the breath of life, they would transcend the lower plane of animal consciousness on which they had previously operated—though, after the Fall, they might be tempted to resort to that lower consciousness.1

So according to this professor, Adam and Eve were animals before God breathed the breath of life into them. At that point, they experienced “amnesia of their former animal life” so that they would no longer remember their animal past.

How does this line up with the Word of God, which states that God made Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7) and Eve from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:22)? Has the professor made a plausible interpretation of God’s Word? Is his interpretive work what Paul had in mind when he advised Timothy to be diligent in his efforts to accurately interpret the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)?

The example above highlights the importance of being able to properly interpret the Bible. In this postmodern age, bizarre interpretations are accepted because people believe they have the right to decide for themselves what a passage means. In other words, meaning is in the eye of the beholder, so you can decide truth for yourself.

This ideology flies in the face of Christ’s example. He routinely rebuked those who twisted the words of Scripture or misapplied them. The Bible is God’s message to man. We can have perfect confidence that God is capable of accurately relaying His Word to us in a way that we can understand. As such, it is crucial that we learn how to interpret properly so that we can determine the Author’s Intended Meaning (AIM) rather than forcing our own ideas into the text. A given document means what the author intended it to mean. The alternative would make communication futile. There would be no point in writing anything if the readers are simply going to take what they want from the passage, rather than what the writer intends. All communication is predicated on the presupposition that language conveys the author’s or speaker’s intention (unless, of course, the person is trying to deceive us, which is something God does not do since He wants us to understand His Word).


Hermeneutics (from the Greek word hermeneuo, which means to explain or interpret) is the branch of theology that focuses on identifying and applying sound principles of biblical interpretation. While the Bible is generally plain in its meaning, proper interpretation requires careful study and is not always an easy task. Consider that the Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 or more authors using three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). The authors wrote in different genres and had different vocabularies, personalities, cultural backgrounds, and social standings. The Holy Spirit moved each of these men to produce His inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20–21), but He allowed their various writing styles and personalities to be expressed in its pages. It was written in a culture very different from our modern world and has been translated from its original languages. These are just some of the factors that must be taken into account as we interpret.

In fact, Bible colleges and seminaries often require their students to complete a course in hermeneutics. Numerous books have been written to explain these principles, and while Bible-believing Christians may disagree over particulars, there is general agreement about the major rules required to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

This is not to claim that only the scholarly elite can correctly interpret the Bible. Various groups have wrongly held this position. William Tyndale lived in the early sixteenth century when only certain people were allowed to interpret the Bible, which was only available in Latin, not the language of the common man. He sought to bring God’s Word to the average person by translating it into English. Tyndale is credited with telling a priest that he could make a boy who drove a plough to know more of the Scripture than the priest himself.2 The Bible was penned so that in its pages all people, even children, can learn about God and what He has done so that we can have a personal relationship with Him.

We must also battle against our pride, which tempts us to think that our own views are always right or that the beliefs of a particular teacher are necessarily right. We must strive to be like the Bereans who were commended by Luke for searching the Old Testament Scriptures daily to make sure that what Paul taught was true (Acts 17:11).

(Video) What principles of interpretation can help me read the Bible?

God desires for His people to know and understand His Word—that’s why He gave it to us and instructed fathers to teach it to their children in the home (Deuteronomy 6:4–9). However, we must keep in mind several important points.

We need the Holy Spirit to help us to think correctly, lest we distort the Scriptures.

First, Christians must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit while studying the Bible. It’s not that the Bible requires any “extra-logical” or mystical insight to understand it. But we are limited in our understanding and often hindered by pride. We need the Holy Spirit to help us to think correctly, lest we distort the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).

Second, a person can spend his or her entire life and still never come close to mining the depths of Scripture. The Bible is written in such a marvelous way that a child can understand the basic message, and yet the most educated theologians continue to learn new things from the Bible as they study it. There is always so much more to learn, so we must humbly approach the Word of God.

Third, God has given the church learned men and gifted teachers who have devoted their lives to studying God’s Word. While these people are certainly not infallible, we shouldn’t automatically reject the work of those who have gone before us.

Finally, since the Bible consists of written data, then in order to understand it, we must follow standard rules of grammar and interpretation. We will examine these rules or principles throughout this chapter and the next, especially as they relate to Genesis.

Because people often confuse the two concepts, it must be pointed out that interpretation is different than application, although they are related. Interpretation answers the questions, “What does the text say?” and “What does the text mean?” Application follows interpretation and answers the question, “How can I apply this truth in my life today?” After all, the goal of studying the Bible is not to simply fill one’s head with information but to learn what God wants for us to know so that we can live how He wants us to live.

Which Method Do We Use?

Bible-believing Christians generally follow a method of interpretation known as the historical-grammatical approach. That is, we try to find the plain (literal) meaning of the words based on an understanding of the historical and cultural settings in which the book was written. We then follow standard rules of grammar, according to the book’s particular genre, to arrive at an interpretation. We seek to perform careful interpretation or exegesis—that is, to “read out of” the text what the author intended it to mean. This is in contrast to eisegesis, which occurs when someone “reads into” the text his own ideas—what the reader wants the text to mean. In other words, exegesis is finding the AIM (Author’s Intended Meaning) of the passage because its true meaning is determined by the sender of the message, not the recipient.

This hermeneutical approach has several strengths. It can be demonstrated that the New Testament authors interpreted the Old Testament in this manner. Also, it is the only approach that offers an internal system of “checks and balances” to make sure one is on the right track. As will be shown, other views allow for personal opinion to sneak into one’s interpretation, which does not truly reflect what the text means.

Finally, this approach is consistent with how we utilize language on a daily basis while interacting with others. For example, if your best friend says, “I am going to drive to work tomorrow morning,” you can instantly understand what he means. You know that he has a vehicle that he can drive to his place of employment, and that’s exactly what he plans on doing early the next day.

If the postmodern approach is accurate and meaning is determined by the recipient of the message, then perhaps your friend is really just telling you that he likes pancakes. Communication becomes impossible in such a world, and it gets even worse if your friend was talking to you and several other buddies. One friend might think he was talking about his favorite color, another interpreted his words to mean that he doesn’t believe in air, and another thought he meant that he was going to walk to work ten years later.

(Video) How Should We Interpret the Bible? (Selected Scriptures)

Words have a particular meaning in a particular context. When they are placed together in sentences and paragraphs, then a person must follow common-sense rules in order to derive the appropriate meaning. The sender of the message had a reason for choosing the words he did and putting those words together in a particular order and context. The same is true with the Bible. God had a reason for moving the writers of the Bible to use the words they did in the order they did. Our goal must be to ascertain the AIM.

Principles of Interpretation

Since the goal of interpreting the Bible is to determine the Author’s Intended Meaning, we must follow principles derived from God’s Word. The following principles do not comprise an exhaustive list but are some of the major concepts found in the majority of books on interpretation. In the next chapter, the quote from the introduction of this chapter will be examined to see if it properly applies these standard principles.

Carefully Observe the Text

It may seem rather obvious, but this principle is often overlooked. We must carefully observe what the text actually states. Many mistakes have been made by people who jump into interpretation based on what they think the text states rather than what it really does state.

As you read a particular verse or passage, pay close attention to different types of words that make up a sentence. Is the subject singular or plural? Is the verb tense past, present, or future? Is the sentence a command, statement of fact, or question? Is the statement part of a dialogue? If so, who is the speaker, and why did he make that comment? Can you note any repetition of words, which perhaps shows emphasis? What ideas are compared or contrasted? Can you identify any cause and effect statements or questions and answers? What is the tone of the passage; are emotional words used?

Failure to carefully observe the text has resulted in numerous misconceptions about the Bible. For example, many Christians have taught that Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the cool of the day. While it is possible that they did take walks with God in the garden, the Bible never claims this. Instead, God’s Word reveals that after they had sinned, Adam and Eve “heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,” and they hid themselves from Him (Genesis 3:8).

Carefully observing the text can also protect you from making another common mistake. Just because the Bible contains a statement does not mean that it affirms the statement as godly. For example, much of the book of Job consists of an ongoing dialogue between Job and four of his friends (Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Elihu). Some people have been careless by quoting certain verses from this book to support their own ideas, but we have to keep in mind that God told Eliphaz that what he, Bildad, and Zophar had spoken about Him was not right (Job 42:7). This ties in perfectly with our next principle.

Context Is Key

Perhaps no principle of interpretation is more universally agreed upon than the idea that understanding the context of the word, phrase, or passage is absolutely essential. Context is defined as “the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning.”3

Critics of Scripture often take verses out of context when they attack the Bible.

You may have heard someone say that a particular verse has been pulled out of context. Critics of Scripture often take verses out of context when they attack the Bible. The reason is that they can make the Bible “say” just about anything if they do not provide the context. For example, the critic might ask, “Did you know that the Bible says, ‘There is no God’?” Then he may go on to claim that this contradicts other passages, which certainly teach that God does exist.

How do we handle such a charge? We look at the context of the quoted words, which in this case comes from Psalm 14:1 (and is repeated in Psalm 53:1). It states, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” So, it’s true that the Bible states, “There is no God,” but it attributes these words to a foolish person. So the Bible is not teaching both the existence and non-existence of God, as the skeptic asserts.

If I asked you what the word “set” means, would you be able to provide me with the correct answer? No, it would be impossible because the word has more than 70 definitions in the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and can be used as a verb, noun, and an adjective. Now, if I asked you what the word “set” meant in the following sentence, you could easily figure it out: “His mind was set on solving the problem.” In this sentence, the word means “intent” or “determined.” But without the context, you would not know this.

(Video) How To Study And Interpret The Bible - The Principles Of Interpretation Part 2

The same thing is true with the Bible or any other written communication. The context clarifies the meaning of the word, phrase, sentence, etc. With the Bible, it is important to know the context of the particular passage you are studying. It is also important to understand the context of the entire book in which the passage is found and how that book fits into the context of Scripture.

We also need to recognize where the passage fits into the flow of history. It makes a huge difference in determining the writer’s intent if we note whether the passage was pre-Fall, pre-Flood, pre-Mosaic Law, after the Babylonian Exile, during Christ’s earthly ministry, after His Resurrection, or after Pentecost. This is especially important when we reach the point of application. For example, just because God commanded Israel to sacrifice lambs at Passover doesn’t mean we should do the same today. Jesus died on the Cross as our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) and was the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover sacrifice. Since the Bible was revealed progressively, there are instances where later revelation supersedes earlier revelation.

Ron Rhodes summarized these truths by stating, “No verse of Scripture can be divorced from the verses around it. Interpreting a verse apart from its context is like trying to analyze a Rembrandt painting by looking at only a single square inch of the painting, or like trying to analyze Handel's ‘Messiah’ by listening to a few short notes.”4

Clarity of Scripture

Since the Bible is God’s Word to man, He must expect us to understand it. As such, it makes sense that He would communicate His message to us in such a way so that we can indeed comprehend it if we are serious about wanting to know the truth. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians:

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:2 emphasis added).

Proverbs 8:9 states that God’s words “are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.

This principle was one of the key differences between the Reformers and Roman Catholics. The Reformers believed in the perspicuity (clearness) of Scripture, especially in relation to its central message of the gospel, and they believed each believer had the right to interpret God’s Word. Roman Catholic doctrine held (and still holds) that Scripture can only be interpreted by the Magisterium (teaching office of the church).

Consider the words of Psalm 119, which is by far the longest chapter in the entire Bible, and every one of its 176 verses extols the superiority of God’s Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God’s Word should be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, giving understanding to the simple. How could it be or do any of these things if it is not clear?

The principle of the clarity of Scripture does not mean that every passage is easily understood or that one does not need to diligently study the Word of God, but it does teach that the overall message of the Word of God can be understood by all believers who carefully and prayerfully study it. The principle also means that we should not assume or look for hidden meanings but rather assess the most straightforward meaning. Two of Christ’s favorite sayings were “It is written” and “Have you not read?” Then He would quote a verse from the Old Testament. By these sayings, He indicated that the Scriptures are generally clear.

Compare Scripture with Scripture

Another key principle of hermeneutics is that we should use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Known by theologians as the “analogy of faith” or “analogy of Scripture,” this principle is solidly based on the Bible’s own teachings. Since the Bible is the Word of God and God cannot lie or contradict Himself (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18), then one passage will never contradict another passage. This principle is useful for several reasons.

First, not all Bible passages are equally clear. So, a clear passage can be used to shed light on a difficult, not-so-clear passage. There are a number of obscure verses in Scripture, where you might wish the writer would have provided more details. 1 Corinthians 15:29 is a classic example. Right in the middle of the chapter on the Resurrection of Jesus and the future resurrection of believers, Paul asked, “Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?” Several ideas have been suggested to explain what Paul meant about baptism for the dead, but because this is the only verse in all of Scripture that mentions this concept, we may not be able to reach a firm conclusion about its meaning.

(Video) 10 Principles to Read and Understand the Bible

However, by comparing this verse with other Scripture, we can reach definite conclusions about what it does not teach. We know that Paul did not instruct the Corinthians to baptize people for the dead,5 because Paul and other biblical writers unequivocally taught that salvation is only by God’s grace and can only be received through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). We can also be sure that those who practice such a thing are not accomplishing what they hope to accomplish—the salvation of an unbeliever who has already died. Hebrews 9:27 states, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

Second, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we have a system of checks and balances to help us stay on the right track. There will likely be times when, for whatever reason, we incorrectly interpret a given passage. By studying other passages that shed light on the same issue, we can recognize our error. Many people are unwilling to change their original interpretation and hold on to contradictory beliefs. Some will even claim that the Bible contradicts itself when, in reality, they have misinterpreted one or both of the passages. It is crucial for us to humbly approach Scripture and realize that if we believe we have found a contradiction, then it is our interpretation that is flawed, not God’s Word.

Since this principle provides a system of checks and balances, it can provide us with great certainty concerning a given interpretation. If we interpret a passage and then discover that every other passage on the topic seems to teach the same truth, we can be confident in the accuracy of our interpretation.

Classification of Text

While interpreting the Bible, we must never forget to understand the genre (literary style) of the passage we are studying. The Bible contains numerous types of literature, and each one needs to be interpreted according to principles befitting its particular style. Below is a chart identifying the basic literary style of each book of the Bible. Note that some books contain more than one style. For example, Exodus is written as history, but chapter 15 includes a song written in poetic language. Also, the books are sometimes divided into more categories, but for our purposes “History” includes the books of the Law, the historical books, and the four gospels; “Poetry” includes the Psalms and wisdom literature; “Prophecy” includes the prophetic books; and “Epistles” are letters written by an apostle.

1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Song of Solomon
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John

These distinctions are important to keep in mind while interpreting the Bible. Each classification uses language in a particular way. Historical books are primarily narratives of past events and should be interpreted in a straightforward manner. This does not mean that they never utilize figurative language. For example, after Cain killed his brother Abel, God said to Cain, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (Genesis 4:10–11). There are two obvious instances of figurative language in this passage: the ground “opened its mouth” and Abel’s “blood cries out” from it. Nevertheless, these figures of speech are perfectly legitimate in historical writing, and it is easy to understand what they mean.

Poetry, prophecy, and the New Testament epistles all have their own particular nuances and guidelines for proper interpretation. Space does not permit a full treatment here, so just remember to recognize the book’s (or passage’s) genre and interpret accordingly.

Church’s Historical View

Finally, it is important to know how those who have gone before us have interpreted a passage in question. Although our doctrine must be based squarely on the Word of God and not on tradition or what some great leader believed, we should allow ourselves to be informed by the work of others who have spent long hours studying God’s Word. Most doctrines have been discussed, debated, and formulated throughout church history, so we should take advantage of that resource.

Imagine studying a passage and reaching a conclusion only to discover that no one else in history has ever interpreted those verses in the same way. You would not necessarily be wrong, but you would certainly want to re-examine the passage to see if you had overlooked something. After all, you need to be very careful and confident in your interpretation before proposing an idea that none of the millions of interpreters have ever noticed before.

While Bible scholars and pastors often have access to resources that permit them to search out the teachings of our spiritual forefathers, this information can also be obtained by the average Christian. Consider borrowing a commentary from a pastor or taking advantage of some of the Bible software on the market, which allows you to quickly search for this information.

Conclusion to Part 1

This first chapter has explained why it is important to accurately interpret God’s Word and how to do it. Our goal is to find the AIM (Author’s Intended Meaning). The six principles above will guide you as you study and interpret God’s Word.6

(Video) 👑How to Study the Bible Principle of Interpretation Part 1👑Myles Munroe👑

Remember, the goal of interpreting God’s Word is not to simply accumulate knowledge so that you can be the best at Bible trivia. The reason it is important to study and accurately interpret the Bible is so that we can know God better, know what He expects from us, and know how we can live in a way that pleases Him.

The next chapter will examine the statement from Dr. Dembski, quoted at the beginning of this chapter, to see if he followed these major principles of interpretation. It will also show why Genesis 1–11 should be understood as historical narrative.


What does it mean to interpret the Bible? ›

Literal interpretation asserts that a biblical text is to be interpreted according to the “plain meaning” conveyed by its grammatical construction and historical context. The literal meaning is held to correspond to the intention of the authors.

What is the meaning of principles in the Bible? ›

A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to guide you in making decisions.

How do Christians interpret the Bible? ›

Christians generally regard the Bible as their holy text. They follow the rules it contains for living life and can turn to Jesus' teachings for moral guidance. The Bible is considered the sacred scripture of Christianity. Christians consider the Bible to be sacred because it contains messages from God.

Why is it important to interpret the Bible? ›

Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.

What are the 7 principles of the Bible? ›

Principles: As we seek to develop Christlike character, our actions will reflect Christian virtues, such as humility, faith, charity, courage, self-government, virtue, industry, and wisdom.

What is the meaning of spiritual principles? ›

Spiritual principles are the path laid out for experiencing our lives free of unnecessary suffering, with strength and resilience to experience the pain and fear that must be walked through as a part of life.

Why are spiritual principles important? ›

Intentionally practicing the awareness and application of spiritual principles helps to train our minds, strengthening our ability to direct and maintain our attention in ways that enhance our learning, growth, and healing.

What are the biblical principles of life? ›

Edna Harding
  • #1 Choose your Company (Inner Circle) wisely. ...
  • #2 Involve God in every aspect of your life. ...
  • #3 Be a good steward of whatever God has already entrusted to you. ...
  • #4 Understand the difference between doing it the world's way and God's way. ...
  • #5 Be bold and courageous.
29 Sept 2021

Why do people interpret the Bible differently? ›

The Bible has been translated into several languages over the years. Some books in the Bible have never been completed or parts of it were never found. These discrepancies and translation nuances have paved the way for the different interpretations of the Bible.

How do you read the Bible effectively? ›

How to Read the Bible Effectively
  1. What book of the Bible should I start with? ...
  2. Pray before starting. ...
  3. Meditate on single verses or small passages. ...
  4. Read whole chapters at a time. ...
  5. Read whole books. ...
  6. Use a study Bible. ...
  7. Try different translations. ...
  8. Use a Bible App and listen to the Bible.
10 Oct 2021

How do Catholics interpret the Bible? ›

Catholics believe the Bible reveals God's word and God's nature. Catholics believe that they can learn to understand God better by reading the Bible. Parts of the Bible are read during liturgical worship , for example Mass . Worship using the Bible unites Catholics with other members of their faith.

What does the Bible say about understanding the word? ›

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

What are the 5 rules for determining correct scriptural interpretation? ›

List the five rules for determining correct spiritual interpretation. Nature, Character, Expression, Context, Setting.

How do you read the Bible in context? ›

the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning. What is this? So Bible context is understanding both the words surrounding the Biblical passage you are studying and the environment, history, culture, and literary devices used as well.

What are the types of interpretation? ›

The three basic interpretation modes are simultaneous interpretation (SI), consecutive interpretation, and whispered interpretation. However, modern linguists suggest that there are more than simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation, and whispered interpretation to interpretation modes.

How do you analyze a Bible verse? ›

Verse-by-Verse Analysis
  1. Verse-by-verse analysis is passage analysis confined to the study of just a few verses. ...
  2. Choose the verses that you want to study. ...
  3. Write the verses out. ...
  4. Write a personal paraphrase. ...
  5. Interrogate the text. ...
  6. Just observe. ...
  7. Word Study: Study any words you don't know.

What are the 5 principles from the Bible? ›

Five Principles of Gospel Learning
  • Vital instruction is not hidden, but repeated. “Instruction vital to our salvation is not hidden in an obscure verse or phrase in the scriptures. ...
  • Knowledge should be balanced. ...
  • The Lord is consistent. ...
  • The scriptures sustain each other. ...
  • The Holy Ghost can make things plain.

What does the Bible say about interpreting scripture? ›

(Matthew 28:18). We are therefore obligated to let the Bible interpret itself. The faith has been one time, for all time, delivered to the saints and we must accept and obey it to become "united" followers of Christ. (Jude 3).

How many principles are there? ›

These 12 principles, explained in the infographic below, include contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity (there are also some additional Gestalt principles of design).

What are the 12 spiritual principles? ›

The 12 spiritual principles of recovery are as follows: acceptance, hope, faith, courage, honesty, patience, humility, willingness, brotherly-love, integrity, self-discipline, and service.

What are the 12 principles behind the 12 steps? ›

The Principles in the Twelve Steps
  • Step One: Honesty.
  • Step Two: Hope.
  • Step Three: Faith.
  • Step Four: Courage.
  • Step Five: Integrity.
  • Step Six: Willingness.
  • Step Seven: Humility.
  • Step Eight: Self-discipline.

What is the spiritual principle of faith? ›

“Faith is many things. It is wisdom without knowledge, believing without knowing, hope with a track record. Faith is what causes us to do things we never thought we had the strength to do.

Where are the 12 principles in the big book? ›

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

The Steps are listed beginning on Page 59 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Is hope a spiritual principle? ›

Hope is the spiritual principle behind A.A.'s Step Two: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Without hope we wouldn't be able to believe in something greater than ourselves, let alone that we'd ever again regain sanity.

Is awareness a spiritual principle? ›

Inner peace begins with awareness, and more importantly, with the ability to remain aware. When one endeavors a life of spirituality, the primary point of entry is always awareness. This is the genesis to all beneficial change in our lives.

What are the three Biblical principles of ethics? ›

Ethicist John Barton says there are three basic models, patterns or paradigms that form the basis of all ethics in the Bible: (1) obedience to God's will; (2) natural law; and (3) the imitation of God.

How is the Bible a formative principle of the moral life? ›

Various sources give formative quality to ethics. The Bible serves as a primary source of Christian ethics (Fowl & Jones 1991:1). Christians claim that the Bible provides information for research and moral principles to govern conduct. Hence, it informs their values, religious beliefs, and moral codes and principles.

What principles do you live by? ›

18 Life Principles For Greater Living
  • Love More. Not just people or things, but yourself. ...
  • Be Vigilant With Your Thoughts. ...
  • Practice Mindfulness. ...
  • Regular Personal Development. ...
  • Attitude Is Everything. ...
  • Be Of Service To Others. ...
  • Character Is More Important Than Reputation. ...
  • Let Go Of Worry, Fear, And Anxiety.

How many Bible interpretations exist? ›

The Bible has been translated into many languages from the biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. As of September 2020 the full Bible has been translated into 704 languages, the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,551 languages and Bible portions or stories into 1,160 other languages.

What is moral interpretation? ›

A second type of biblical hermeneutics is moral interpretation, which seeks to establish exegetical principles by which ethical lessons may be drawn from the various parts of the Bible. Allegorization was often employed in this endeavour.

What is hermeneutics and examples? ›

Hermeneutics is all about interpretation in fields of study, such as interpreting plays or novels, but also in day-to-day life, when we interpret actions of our friends or try to figure out what a job termination, for example, means in the context of our life story.

How do I read the Bible daily? ›

How to Make Daily Bible Reading a Habit | 8 Tips for Devotions - YouTube

What should I read first in the Bible? ›

Consider Reading Genesis First

However, Genesis proves to be a more important beginning to a story than any other beginning you have ever read. You desperately need to read it. It's the beginning of God's story, but it is also the beginning of your story. The Bible isn't fiction; it's the story of reality.

Are Catholics allowed to interpret the Bible? ›

Catholics, however, remain free to interpret scripture in any way that does not contradict Catholic dogma.

What is the critical interpretation of sacred Scripture? ›

exegesis, the critical interpretation of the biblical text to discover its intended meaning.

Do Catholics interpret the Old Testament literally? ›

Some Christian communities interpret the Bible literally, an approach called “fundamentalism.” For decades the Catholic Church has denounced this approach.

What is the gift of understanding? ›

Understanding: In understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live. The gift of understanding perfects a person's speculative reason in the apprehension of truth.

What does the Bible say about understanding the times? ›

The sons of Issachar had understanding of the times — Jesus rebuked His generation for not discerning the times; and Paul admonishes us to know the times in Romans 13:11-14. And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

What is an understanding heart? ›

Which means basically wisdom is an understanding heart and the ability to know the difference between things. Instead of asking for wisdom he asked for what wisdom can do, proving to God that if it is wisdom I will be able to know and see by the understanding of my heart and the ability to know the difference.

What are the three criteria for interpreting Scripture? ›

What three criteria did the Second Vatican Council give for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Holy Spirit who inspired it? Be attentive to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture. Read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church. Be attentive to the analogy of faith?

What are the three spiritual senses of Scripture? ›

The three spiritual senses are the allegorical, the moral (also known as the tropological), and the anagogical.

What are the basics of hermeneutics? ›

There are generally four steps of the hermeneutical process – (1) understanding the historical and cultural context, (2) understanding the literary context, (3) making observations, and (4) drawing application. This process can help us approach any text of the Bible as we seek out God's intended meaning.

Why is it important to understand context in the Bible? ›

It is important to place scripture in proper context.

The primary purpose of considering context, then, is to derive the correct meaning and intent of the author. By relying on isolated passages without giving due consideration to their context, misunderstandings and misinterpretations may result.

Why is it so important to read the Bible? ›

Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.

Why is it important to read the Bible as one book? ›

The first reason it is important, therefore, to read the Bible as one story is that this is the way the Bible's authority is known. If God's word is to shape our lives, we must receive it and hear it as it really is-one story. Loss of narrative unity greatly truncates the Bible's power and erodes its authority.

Who has the authority to interpret the Bible? ›

Furthermore, the Church Fathers are of supreme authority whenever they all interpret in one and the same manner any text of the Bible, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith or morals; for their unanimity clearly evinces that such interpretation has come down from the Apostles as a matter of Catholic faith.

What are the five rules for determining correct scriptural interpretation? ›

What are the 5 rules for determining correct Scriptural interpretation? the nature of the doctument, the character and station of the author, his ways of expression, the context in which he wrote, and the setting in which it is read.

How did Martin Luther interpret the Bible? ›

The most important principle of interpretation that Martin Luther used was “Scripture interprets Scripture.” The tools for properly interpreting the Bible are contained in the Bible itself. Thus, he delved into the New Testament to see how Jesus and the apostles had interpreted Scripture.

What is the anagogical sense of Scripture? ›

Anagogical (mystical or spiritual) interpretation seeks to explain biblical events or matters of this world so that they relate to the life to come.

What gives the Bible authority? ›

According to the doctrine, the Holy Spirit means that God is able to enact authority through Jesus Christ and his disciples, which is consistent with the source of biblical authority from the Old Testament. A core component of biblical authority is biblical inerrancy.

Why does the Bible have authority? ›

The Bible is considered to be the most important source of authority for Christians because it contains the teachings of God and Jesus.

What are the steps of hermeneutics? ›

The conclusion that is drawn is as follows: 1) hermeneutical process starts with the element/step to observe that ”something addresses us”; 2) the second step consists of idea that the process must conduct to an agreement about what is addressing us; 3) for reaching an agreement is necessary a step of common language, ...

What are the three criteria for interpreting Scripture? ›

What three criteria did the Second Vatican Council give for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Holy Spirit who inspired it? Be attentive to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture. Read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church. Be attentive to the analogy of faith?

What does the Bible say about interpreting Scripture? ›

(Matthew 28:18). We are therefore obligated to let the Bible interpret itself. The faith has been one time, for all time, delivered to the saints and we must accept and obey it to become "united" followers of Christ. (Jude 3).

What are the three principles of hermeneutics? ›

1) Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. 2) Texts of Scripture must be interpreted in context (both immediate & broad contexts). 3) No text of Scripture (properly interpreted in its context) will contradict another text of Scripture.

How did John Calvin interpret the Bible? ›

The basic methodological principle Calvin held in his Biblical interpretation is that everything must be presumed in God and not in the office of the Church. We must understand the Word of God as attested in the Holy Bible by referring always to the standard of the ultimate Truth, namely God Himself.

What are Martin Luther's 4 theological principles? ›

Sola fide, sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia: through Faith alone, by Scripture alone, in Christ alone, by Grace alone! These four maxims, which had already been developed by 1521, astutely summarise the theology of Martin Luther.

WHO removed the 7 books from the Bible? ›

In the 16th century, Martin Luther wanted to remove many books from the Bible (including the NT books of Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) but was only successful in removing the Deuterocanonical books, apparently unaware the New Testament quotes from them as scripture.

What are the two main senses of Scripture? ›

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses.

What are the 4 sense of Scripture? ›

In Christianity, the four senses are literal, allegorical, tropological and anagogical.

What sense of Scripture is most important? ›

The most important part of reading the Bible is making sure you understand the literal sense of the text. This can mean knowing the vocabulary, understanding the literary form of the text, investigating the original language used, or unpacking the symbolism of a parable.


1. HOW TO INTERPRET SCRIPTURE | Hermeneutics, Exegesis, and Eisegesis | Understanding The Bible EP 01
(Whiteboard Ministry)
2. R.C. Sproul: How to Study the Bible
(Ligonier Ministries)
3. 3 Minute Theology 2.4: How do we interpret the Bible?
(Three Minute Theology)
4. Part 2 - How to Study the Bible Principle of Interpretation
5. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome || How study the bible for understanding
6. Principles of Interpreting Bible Prophecy #1 -1st Principles
(Bible Truth And Prophecy)
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