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Knowing ScriptureSample

Knowing Scripture

DAY 1 OF 5


The Word of God accomplishes the very purposes of God Himself. But sometimes, the Word can take longer to accomplish its purposes than at other times. This is not due to any defect in the Bible itself but results from our inexperience in handling Scripture properly. When we know how to interpret the Bible, the Scriptures impact our lives more quickly and meaningfully.

All of the sciences have rules and methods that govern how that science operates. Biblical interpretation is no different; there are rules that we must follow to understand the Scriptures rightly. The science of interpreting the Bible is called “hermeneutics.”

One common approach in hermeneutics is the “existential method of interpretation.” In this approach, the text is viewed not as God’s Word in and of itself but as a vehicle that God uses to have a direct, immediate encounter with our souls. In the existential approach, what God says through the Bible is not always the same as what the text says. This approach results in a radical subjectivism that assumes the text can mean different things to different people.

We do indeed directly encounter God in the pages of the Holy Writ, but that is because the words on its pages are the words of God Himself. Because God’s Word is true, there only can be one possible original meaning for each biblical text. This meaning will be the same for us as it was for the original audience thousands of years ago because truth does not change. Our differing settings may cause the precise application to be different, but never the text’s meaning. If we want to find the one true meaning of the text, we must follow the grammatico-historical method. This hermeneutical approach investigates the original cultural setting of the text, focusing on grammar and syntax to understand what the author of the text meant when he wrote to his original audience. Only this method can give us the original meaning of the biblical text. Otherwise, we end up with a dangerous subjectivism that denies truth itself.

CORAM DEO Living before the face of God

If we ignore the author’s intent, the Bible can mean whatever we want. Divisions in the church, cultic groups, radical subjectivism, and our Scripture twisting all attest to this. When studying the Bible, investigate Bible dictionaries and commentaries to understand the author and his audience better.

Copyright © Ligonier Ministries.

Day 2

About this Plan

Knowing Scripture

The Bible is written in a way that allows anyone to read it and understand its essential meaning. But words of truth can be misconstrued and confusing if God’s Word is not interpreted correctly. This 5-day study provides...


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