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Bible Interpretation I - Lesson 1


    1. Definitions
      1. Hermeneutics: (from Greek word meaning “to interpret”); the science of interpretation; the study of the laws and principles of Bible interpretation
      2. Interpretation
        1. From Latin word meaning “an agent between two parties”
        2. An explanation of the meaning of something
        3. A wise understanding of meaning that is hidden to others (Proverbs 1:6; Ecclesiastes 8:1)
    2. Biblical Usage of Interpretation
      1. To explain the meaning of a dream by identifying the meaning of its symbols and revealing the intended message of the dream (Genesis 40:5-13; this is the first usage of interpret in the Bible
      2. To translate something spoken or written into a language which the hearer can understand (Genesis 42:23; Ezra 4:7; Mark 15:34; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14:5)
      3. To explain the meaning of a name or a word (Matthew1:23; Mark 15:22; John 1:38,41,42;  John 9:7; Acts 4:36; Acts 13:8)
      4. To give a personal (and therefore fallible) explanation of the meaning of a scripture (2 Peter 1:19-21)
      5. To bring God’s message to man in a way that man can understand (Job 33:23)
    3. The Need for Bible Interpretation
      1. Because of man’s sin nature (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
      2. Because of Bible corrupters (2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2)
      3. Because of Bible illiterates (1 Corinthians 3:1-2; Hebrews 5:11-12; 2 Peter 3:15-16)
    4. Interpretation in Perspective
      1. Revelation – the act of God by which He reveals to man that which man could not otherwise know (Deuteronomy 29:29)
      2. Inspiration – the act of God by which He delivers His word as a living and inerrant record of His truth to man (2 Timothy 3:16)
      3. Preservation – the act of God by which He preserves His word perfect and without error to every generation of man (Psalm 12:6-7)
      4. Illumination – the act of the Holy Ghost by which He spiritually illuminates man as to the meaning of the scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
      5. Interpretation – the act of man by which he seeks to understand and apply the principles of Bible interpretation; interpretation without illumination leads to false doctrine and confusion (1 Timothy 1:3-7)
    5. The Sources of Bible Interpretation
      1. The Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 2:9-16); illumination is God’s side; interpretation is man’s side
      2. The English text (Nehemiah 8:8)
      3. Other scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:13; Isaiah 28:9-13); the Bible is the best commentary on the Bible
      4. Other Bible students (Acts 8:30-31; 2 Timothy 2:2)
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 2:2

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;